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Mail services adjust to pandemic protocols

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Mail services across the country have had to adjust to new coronavirus protocols, as more people self-isolated and shopped online.

“A lot has changed. It’s been very different,” said Mary Seifert, proprietor of the UPS Store in Franklin Square, which remained open as an essential services offering notary services, shredding services, passport photographs, printing, shipping and packaging services. “There’s been a lot of customer drop-offs, and lines have been long. Not to mention, everyone is wearing masks.”

The FedEx Authorized ShipCenter on Franklin Avenue, meanwhile, has had to suspend express drop-offs and pick-ups. Other New York locations that are open have added surcharges to compensate for air cargo capacity limitations for long-haul shipments.

Larger operations, however, have developed protocols to ensure that postal and parcel workers remain safe while delivering mail and packages. FedEx, a multinational delivery service company, for example, is encouraging its more than 500,000 employees “to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed,” according to Senior Communications Soecialist Heather Wilson, who added that the company is “closely monitoring guidance by the World Health Organization and other public health organizations, and [is] taking proper health precautions where warranted.”

And the United States Postal Service has created a dedicated Coronavirus Disease Command Response leadership team. Its new rules include provisions for facemasks, gloves and sanitizing products at post offices nationwide; mask requirements for the USPS’ more than 600,000 employees and the restructuring of post office facilities to accommodate social distancing.

It also updated its policies to grant its employees increased leave time and “non-career employees” 80 hours of coronavirus-related paid leave so that they can take care of their children when schools and daycares are closed. Additionally, the organization has expanded its telecommuting services for employees who are able to perform their jobs remotely.

Over the past few months, the USPS has seen a 100 percent increase in deliveries on Long Island over the same period last year, Communications Specialist Xavier Hernandez said, noting, “Postal services on Long Island have traditionally, and continue to be, of critical importance to the residents.”