Edmonton

Busy like Christmas: What it's like delivering mail during the pandemic

The surge in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic is putting more pressure on postal workers across the country.

'The challenge has been to keep our distance from the public,' Canada Post trainer says

Canada Post trainer John Parker, who works in Edmonton, says his colleagues are working as fast as they can to deliver large volumes of mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by John Parker)

The surge in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic is putting more pressure on postal workers across the country.

In a recent news release, Canada Post told customers to expect delays with parcel deliveries as the increased volume and safety measures to prevent the spread of the illness are slowing things down.

Canada Post carriers now wear gloves and use hand sanitizer often. Mail processing plants have been modified to allow a distance of two metres between employees.

John Parker, an Edmonton-based training officer for Canada Post, said workers are moving mail as fast as they can.

"It's actually exceptional to watch these people work," he said Tuesday in an interview with CBC's Radio Active.

"The volumes that we're seeing are like Christmas volumes, and we've had it for much longer than the Christmas volumes would have lasted."

Postal workers are trying to avoid interactions at the door by knocking or ringing and then leaving packages in a safe place for pickup.

The "knock, drop and go" approach sounds simple, but in practice can be tricky.

That's because carriers are accustomed to interacting with customers, who in turn are craving social interaction more than ever right now, Parker said.

"The challenge has been to keep our distance from the public," he said.

Though delivery has its challenges, Parker said more Edmontonians are showing their appreciation for the people who deliver their mail.

Chalk art on the street, messages in mailboxes and people waving in windows have become common sights, he said.

Some people are even leaving out gifts and snacks, like cookies and juice.

Though the kind gestures are appreciated, Parker said the best way people can support postal workers is to stay inside and avoid all interactions.

"Let them be and let them do their job," he said.

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