DUNDALK, Md. — Tempers flared at a Dundalk post office after people waited in line for hours to pick up mail they say they haven't received in days.
Around 4:00 p.m., more than a dozen people were seen outside of the building waiting in line. But throughout the day, some said there were 60-70 people waiting in a line that wrapped around the building. Some of them left with nothing.
"There’s been one girl at that window serving this whole crowd," said Patricia Harris.
Dorothy Harrison was among those people who say they didn't get any mail in days. She left the post office crying after she was told she wouldn't be receiving all of her mail.
"I just lost my son Saturday," she said. “I need my sons death certificate and his ashes and everything.”
Augustos Sylvester Jr and his wife have five kids. They came to post office after not receiving mail too. Sylvester says they're waiting on social security checks for two of their kids who are disabled.
"Without her check, our mortgage isn’t paid, our Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is not paid," Sylvester's wife said. He added, "We can’t provide certain things...people need money, people need food to survive.
The post office eventually let people waiting in the long lines inside but when they did a customer got upset with one of the employees. The police were called and kicked them out after a customer got upset with a postal worker.
"If you do not get out of this property right now we will slap you with a $5,000 fine and we will throw every single one of you in jail, right now," Sylvester said the police told everyone who was inside the post office.
The people we spoke to say police told them they were in violation of the state’s stay-at-home order and that picking up mail is not essential.
"Well it is if that's how you get your checks in the mail," Harris said.
“If your kids are hungry, but you have no money. what are you going to do.” said Sylvester.
Earlier this week, a Dundalk postal worker at tested positive for COVID-19. But, Harrison believes USPS could have avoided this entirely.
“I feel for all of their employees. They are so ignorant. They should have protected them or this would not be an issue," she said.
Harrison says she was told by a postal worker some people could possibly get mail later tonight or on Saturday.
In response the USPS released the following statement, indicating the problem may have stemmed from staffing shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are flexing our available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing pandemic. Yesterday dedicated postal employees delivered letters and packages in Dundalk. Though Sunday deliveries are uncommon, it’s part of our hardworking employee's efforts to serve Dundalk customers."