Anxiety high for P.E.I.'s letter carriers
‘We are an essential service, but workers in our post office are feeling the stress and the strain’
Scott Gaudet goes to work every day. He's a postal worker, a position public health officials have deemed an essential service.
But Gaudet says there is a lot of anxiety in his workplace in the middle of a global pandemic. There are now five confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I.
But health officials warn that number will rise.
Gaudet says they doing more cleaning, have access to hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and are practising social distancing. He said they are also working with Canada Post to increase the amount of cleaning being done at the post office.
"Anxieties are up," said Gaudet, during a break from his job at the Summerside Post Office on Wednesday.
"We are an essential service, but workers in our post office are feeling the stress and the strain on their mental health and just the worry of contracting the virus."
'Knock, drop and go'
Canada Post says many post offices are cutting the hours they are open to allow for more cleaning. They are also dedicating the first hour of each day to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
The post office is asking customers to stay six feet away from other customers and workers, pay with tap if at all possible (they will continue to take cash) and not to greet postal carriers at the door.
To avoid customers getting too close, Canada Post has implemented what they call "knock, drop and go." Postal workers will knock on the door, choose the safest location to leave the item and drop it.
There will be no need for a signature.
'Never-ending changing circumstances'
John Hamilton, a spokesperson with Canada Post, says the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada have said, and continue to say, the risk of the virus being spread by mail and parcels is low.
"We have also seen things escalate and we have been responding to the never-ending changing circumstances we find ourselves in knowing we provide an essential service. But we can only provide that essential service if we are doing everything to keep our people and the communities safe that we serve," said Hamilton.
"We certainly understand that these are stressful times. We're doing something as ordinary as providing postal service in truly extraordinary times and we are incredibly proud of our people from coast to coast that are doing great work."
Public health officials say customers are encouraged to wash their hands carefully after handling mail.
Being creative during COVID-19
Michael Ramsay of North Wiltshire works for Sobeys Wholesale. He delivers to 32 to 34 smaller stores across the Island every day.
Ramsay said his world has changed dramatically as a result of COVID-19. He said they are keeping their distance, no longer asking for signatures, wearing gloves and keeping wipes and hand sanitizer in their trucks.
They have also become creative to get the product in the store, without touching too many surfaces or getting too close to people.
"If I have to make seven trips into a store with all their products instead of touching that door 14 times to go in and out we open it once and prop the door open so we don't have to touch it repeatedly," said Ramsay.