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Delivery services take precautions

Photo by Janelle Patterson T.J. Dowler, a Marietta postal carrier, delivers mail Wednesday afternoon along his Marietta route.

One of the most essential services Americans have is package delivery, whether it be by the U.S. Postal Service, UPS or FedEx.

While others are asked to stay home, carriers are still required to deliver mail and packages, despite adverse conditions.

T.J. Dowler, a postal carrier in Marietta, said they are used to working under pressure.

“I don’t think anything will stop us,” he said. “We’ve been through anthrax.”

Calls to local post offices were referred to Naddia Dhalai, strategic communications specialist for the USPS Northern Ohio and Ohio Valley.

“The United States Postal Service is closely monitoring the coronavirus disease 2019 situation and continues to follow strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health departments,” she said. “We are sharing the CDC’s guidance to our employees via stand-up talks, employee news articles, messages on bulletin boards, videos and an intranet site directly to employees and within USPS workplaces.”

She said the CDC, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Surgeon General have noted there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through the mail.

“In addition, the Postal Service is an essential service for purposes of its compliance with state or municipality shelter-in-place orders or other social distancing restrictions,” she said.

Their protocols include frequent hand washing, use of sanitizers and additional cleaning of work spaces. Signature capture procedures for customers has also been expanded to ensure social distancing.

A representative from the UPS Customer Center on Industry Road, Marietta, had no comment and calls to the UPS corporate office were not returned. Their website notes that the CDC and WHO have stated the likelihood of novel coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low.

UPS has also temporarily modified the way they hand off packages to customers. Instead of getting a signature from a recipient, they will validate and record the name of the recipient.

Sederia Gray, global media relations for FedEx, said the safety and well-being of their team members is their top priority. They are guided by recommendations from the CDC, WHO and public health organizations in terms of the health and safety of both team members and customers.

“We are actively educating team members about COVID-19 and promoting recommended preventative actions related to hygiene, including frequent hand washing,” she said. “We are also encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed, and promoting guidance from leading public health organizations on how to keep the workplace clean.”

Their requirements for signatures has also been temporarily suspended. She said the suspension includes those normally required as part of their FedEx Freight operation and their same-day service.

“This change is meant to help protect our couriers, drivers and customers by preventing exchange of the signature equipment and keeping them at a safe distance from each other consistent with social distancing guidelines from the WHO,” Gray said.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

• The CDC and World Health Organization have indicated there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through the mail.

• The USPS is encouraging healthy behaviors and protocols including frequent hand washing, use of sanitizers and additional cleaning of work spaces.

•In order to minimize contact with recipients, UPS is modifying its process related to delivery signatures.

• The World Health Organization and CDC have stated that the likelihood of novel coronavirus contaminating cardboard or other shipping containers is low.

Source: Times research.

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