Starting April 6, a number of new changes will take effect to ensure the safest and most reliable service for customers.
On March 24, Royal Mail announced new guidelines and procedures for handling and delivering mail during the epidemic.
These measures included “only one person allowed to be transported in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at a time” and an additional focus on postal workers who wash their hands when entering and leaving Royal Mail buildings.
Acting on the advice of public health authorities, Royal Mail says it has “adopted improved disinfectant cleaning of common areas in all Royal Mail sites on a daily basis” and to minimize contact, customer signatures are no longer necessary and any package too large to pass a mailbox will be placed outside their door.
However, starting next week more stringent guidelines will be put in place – here are all of the changes posted on the Royal Mail website.
Changes to post office hours and closings
To protect the health and safety of our employees and the general public, starting Monday, April 6, we are changing the hours of operation of our customer service points in our local delivery offices.
Our largest pitches will be open from 07:00 to 11:00.
All other customer service points will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
All will be closed Wednesday and Sunday.
To support government advice to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, we encourage customers to visit customer service points only when absolutely necessary.
As a reminder, we can also deliver your items for free. Plan your new delivery here.
Longer shelf life for packages
To give you more time to collect or have your item delivered, we temporarily extend the retention period to 30 calendar days of Monday April 6 before items are returned to the sender.
This applies to the following:
- Items for which we left a “Something for you” card
- Items that have an “extra charge”
- Items that have a “customs duty payable”
- Local collection of items where the parcel is addressed to the customer service point
Due to the increase in absence levels, we have reviewed our timed warranties for special guaranteed delivery services before 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will make the following changes:
- For articles published from Tuesday, March 31, 2020, our guaranteed delivery for guaranteed special delivery before 9:00 a.m. the next working day will change to 12:00 a.m. the next working day *.
- Our guaranteed delivery for a special delivery guaranteed before 1:00 p.m. will pass at 9:00 p.m. the next working day *.
* existing postal code exceptions apply
Signing and receiving items
In order to protect our employees and customers as much as possible, we minimize contact during delivery.
We will not give our portable devices to customers to capture the signatures, but rather record the name of the person accepting the item.
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In addition, for all customers where we need to deliver an item that does not fit in your mailbox, we will place your item at your door.
After knocking on your door, we will then move away from a safe distance while you collect your item.
This will ensure that your item is delivered safely rather than being left outside.
Delivery to nursing homes
The government has put in place measures to protect our most vulnerable groups, including those in residence.
These include limiting, unless essential, access to nursing homes for external providers.
We recognize that the position is important to seniors, especially those who are far from friends and families in nursing homes.
Therefore, to support efforts to keep mail moving but to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we are making arrangements to deliver to a central point (eg reception) rather than individual addresses in care homes from March 19.
These changes will help ensure the health, safety and well-being of our populations and vulnerable people in society.
Leaflets and unaddressed mail
We will deliver unaddressed door-to-door advertising mailings to customers who receive addressed letters or packages at the same time, where possible.
Home mailings provide a very valuable service to small businesses and businesses of all kinds who are looking to provide their products and services.
Many small businesses need this support more than ever.
They want to send it, many consumers want to receive it.
Home mailings also include important communications from local government.
England Public Health Tips on Receiving Mail
Previously, the World Health Organization has stated that the probability of an infected person contaminating commercial products is low.
The spokesperson said, “The probability of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low “
ECHO asked Public Health England what its current position is regarding the risks posed by receiving mail.
Darren Wee, senior communications officer at the National Infection Service, highlighted the current information that WHO and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have published on the coronavirus.
He said, “Although little is known about COVID-19, it is likely to behave similarly to other coronaviruses.
“The survival time of a respiratory virus will depend on a number of factors; for example, what the virus is about, if it is exposed to the sun, differences in temperature and humidity, and exposure to cleaning products (even simple ones like soapy water and household sprays).
“In most cases, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surface has probably decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more after 48 more hours.
“Because COVID-19 is a new disease, we don’t know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses are mainly spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets, as well as by indirect contact with infected respiratory secretions. “