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300+ Maryland USPS employees test positive for COVID-19

Postal worker warns of holiday mail delays
POSTAL WORKERS STILL copy.jpg
Posted at 6:01 AM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 06:55:10-05

BALTIMORE — In August, COVID-19 cases among Maryland postal employees exceeded 100. Two months later, there are now more than 300 cases.

Postal workers are asking the public to remain patient while they do their best to deliver mail with less people.

“Anxiety out the roof. I think it’s not just me. I hear a lot of talk in our office about anxiety,” said a Baltimore postal worker who asked to remain anonymous over concerns he could lose his job for speaking out. However, he wants customers to know what’s happening at local post offices.

“Right now, we’re the shortest staffed I’ve ever seen the office in the years that I’ve been here,” he said.

Less people, more mail
According to Deloitte’s annual Holiday Forecast, online sales are expected to grow by 25 to 35 percent between November and January, compared to about 15 percent for the same time last year.

Meanwhile, a number of workers have been out with the virus, quarantining, or on leave with their families.

Since March, there have been 325 Maryland postal employees who have tested positive with COVID-19, according to a USPS spokesperson.

To cover their routes, carriers are working longer hours.

“A typical day for our overtime carriers, we come in at 8 a.m. and usually get off at 8 or 9 p.m., so you’re working 12-hour shifts. Also, working Sundays actually delivering mail for the first time in my career here at the post office as well as packages,” the carrier said.

Adding to the pressure of on-time deliveries is the rising threat of crimes against delivery drivers.

FBI Baltimore is offering a $10,000 reward for information on a string of robberies of FedEx and UPS trucks.

And a few weeks ago, a mailman and UPS driver were carjacked in Baltimore within hours of each other.

READ MORE: Three Baltimore delivery drivers targeted in robberies within days apart

“It’s going to be a rough season. Just keep your porch lights on for us, be patient, expect late mail, expect very early mail, but I can tell yah, calling the office and saying you’re missing something isn’t going to help. It’s not going to change anything. We’re doing the best we can to get out everything we have in the building, it’s just tough right now with the lack of staff we have,” the carrier said.

A USPS spokesperson sent WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii the statement below:

“The Postal Service is prepared to meet the peak holiday demand. We have planned for this holiday season all year long, which includes hiring seasonal workers. We continually review our staffing and scheduling and make necessary adjustments in order to enhance our services, not just for the holidays, but throughout the year.”

According to a report released in October, USPS on-time delivery rates in Baltimore are at around 74.5 percent, which is lower than the national average of 86.2 percent for first-class mail delivered within the 1-5 day timeframe.

USPS is also encouraging customers to send holiday gifts and cards early to ensure on-time delivery.

The Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict, according to a recent news release.

The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 within the U.S.:

Domestic Mail Class/Product Date (excluding Alaska & Hawaii)

  • USPS Retail Ground® Service -- Dec. 15
  • First-Class Mail® Service -- Dec. 18
  • Priority Mail® Service -- Dec. 19
  • Priority Mail Express® Service2 -- Dec. 23

For holiday shipping dates for Alaska, Hawaii, International, and Military mail, click here.

UPS
Below are the recommended last days to ship for U.S. Domestic December 24 delivery:

  • UPS® Ground -- Dec. 15
  • UPS 3 Day Select® -- Dec. 21
  • UPS 2nd Day Air® -- Dec. 22
  • UPS Next Day Air® -- Dec. 23

Click here for shipping deadlines to other destinations.

FedEx:
Last days to ship for delivery by December 25 within the U.S.

  • FedEx SmartPost® (certain exceptions apply) -- Wednesday, December 9
  • FedEx Home Delivery® -- Tuesday, December 15
  • FedEx Ground® -- Tuesday, December 15
  • FedEx Express Saver® -- Monday, December 21
  • FedEx 3Day® Freight -- Monday, December 21
  • FedEx 2Day® -- Tuesday, December 22
  • FedEx 2Day® A.M. -- Tuesday, December 22
  • FedEx 2Day® Freight -- Tuesday, December 22
  • FedEx 1Day® Freight -- Wednesday, December 23
  • FedEx Extra Hours® -- Wednesday, December 23
  • FedEx Standard Overnight® -- Wednesday, December 23
  • FedEx Priority Overnight® -- Wednesday, December 23
  • FedEx First Overnight® -- Wednesday, December 23
  • FedEx SameDay®2 -- Friday, December 25
  • FedEx SameDay® City Priority2 -- Friday, December 25
  • FedEx SameDay® City Direct2 -- Friday, December 25

Click here for shipping deadlines to other destinations.

For additional holiday shipping deadlines and for certain retailers, click here.