November 27, 2021

Postal Service, UPS adopt COVID-19 measures

Sticking to a safe route

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Postal carrier Greg Rowe makes his rounds Wednesday on West Main Street in Cortland. The U.S. Postal Service and private carriers are taking steps to make sure their carriers and parcels are safe from coronavirus.

As Cortland comes closer to the end of its first week under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stay-at-home executive order, some activity goes on as normal.

Mail carriers, for instance, still walk mail door-to-door, and United Parcel Service continues to deliver packages to homes and businesses.

Both the United States Postal Service and UPS have said they are following recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health departments.

The postal service is also “encouraging any employee who feels they are sick to stay home,” according to a statement.

“We are offering liberal leave and have worked with our postal unions to temporarily expand leave options for our employees.”

Postal workers are also being stationed at least 6 feet apart, and patrons are being asked to maintain 6 feet distance according to tape on the floor of the queues.

UPS is also requiring social distancing as well as rigorous hygiene measures.

“We’ve directed that the surfaces in our facilities be wiped down daily, and that our vehicles are cleaned and disinfected daily with an emphasis on the interiors and frequent exterior touch points,” a statement from UPS reads. “Our employees
are able to wash their hands with soap and water at our facilities, we have good product availability through our supply chain, and we are constantly replenishing supplies. This includes a 60 days’ supply of antibacterial soap and other necessary hygiene products such as paper towels and toilet paper for all of our facilities.”

UPS is also making face masks available for drivers who visit health care and assisted living facilities.

Coronavirus can persist and maintain viability on plastic surfaces for 72 hours and on cardboard for 24 hours, according researched conducted by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and by contracts from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But the postal service notes there is no evidence that people are being infected through the mail.

“It is important to note that the CDC, the World Health Organization, as well as the Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail,” it states.

Some, however, aren’t willing to take chances, such as Cortland Alderwoman Kathryn Silliman (D-2nd Ward), who has severe asthma and is therefore at greater risk of experiencing life-threatening symptoms if she were to contract coronavirus.

Her husband, Tom Gerhard, won’t let her get the mail or accept packages. He accepts them instead and wipes them down with chlorine bleach wipes.

“Just as a standard precaution, we wipe it down when it comes in,” Gerhart said. “The reason I do it is because we’re in a high risk category for infection.”