The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to stay at home and opt for online shopping this holiday season or ship gifts to relatives they would otherwise see. That’s putting an enormous strain on delivery services like the U.S. Postal Service.
“This is such an unprecedented year with so many challenges and what we’re really doing is just asking customers to go early, early, early. You know, get the packages out now. We’re well into December now, so of course we have our shipping deadlines, but we’re asking customers to go even ahead of those deadlines this year,” said Amy Gibbs, a strategic communications specialist for the Postal Service.
U.S. Postal Service Deadline:
The deadlines for USPS are:
- December 15 – Ground Shipping
- December 18 – First-Class Mail
- December 19 – Priority Mail
- December 23 – Priority Express
Retailers are also warning customers of their own deadlines, some even explained that December 11 is the last day for free shipping. Others are encouraging store pickup as soon as possible because of the limited space.
The U.S. Postal Service has hired additional seasonal staff, like it does every year, to handle this influx and it also extended retail hours at certain post offices.
“We will absolutely be doing the absolute best we can from now until the holidays to get everybody their holiday stuff on time,” Gibbs said.
The postal service also offers Operation Santa Program.
“If you have kids that have a wish list that you’re having trouble fulfilling, you can go ahead and write to Santa at 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888. That’s Santa’s address. Customers can then adopt the letters that we upload onto the website. It’s very secure, customers obviously won’t know where the kids live, only Santa knows. So it’s very safe and secure and it’s a way for us to become a bridge for our customers to help other families in need,” said Gibbs.
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