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coronavirus

Postal workers to keep their distance as deliveries continue

Royal Mail has said its deliveries will continue, despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Royal Mail has assured the public that it will be working hard to keep customers connected across the UK, with further social distancing measures introduced for its workers.

Shane O’Riordain, managing director of regulation and corporate affairs at Royal Mail said, yesterday, Tuesday: “We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected.

“We are working hard to deliver mail to every part of the UK. Mail is still scheduled to be collected and delivered as normal.

“This is a fast-moving situation and local service levels may at times be impacted by local absences.”

Mr O’Riordain explained that Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which it operates very seriously.

“From today we have introduced a range of new social distancing measures aimed at offering further protection for our colleagues,” he said.

“Standard ways of working are being revised to ensure that, wherever possible, colleagues stay two metres apart. We are implementing a new rule that means there will only be one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time.

“Processes have been further reviewed to minimise the passing of work between colleagues. And we are calling for the washing of hands when colleagues enter and leave Royal Mail buildings, as well as at regular times during the day.”

In order to protect further both staff and customers, Royal Mail has said it will not be handing over hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures during signed deliveries. Postal workers will instead log the name of the person accepting the item, and can sign on their behalf.

The managing director added: “For all customers (including those who are self-isolating) where we need to deliver any parcel that won’t fit through their letterbox, we will place their item at their door.

“Having knocked on the door, we will then step aside to a safe distance while they retrieve their item. This will ensure the item is delivered securely rather than being left outside.

“If they are unable to come to the door at all we will issue a “something for you” card, advising of other ways they can arrange to get their item.

“For example, by getting a friend or family member to collect the parcel from our local customer service point on their behalf. In this situation, and to keep their mail as secure as possible, they will need to bring along the card we left and a form of ID in the name of the person the item is addressed to.”

In line with guidance from the UK’s chief medical officer and public health authorities, Royal Mail is also advising colleagues that good hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence.

“We continue to act on public health authority advice which is updated daily,”  explained Mr O’Riordain.

“In the meantime we share regular updates and information with colleagues. We have also adopted enhanced disinfectant cleaning of communal areas in all Royal Mail sites on a daily basis. We are monitoring the situation closely.

“Public health authorities have advised people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from public health authorities for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.

“These actions form part of a package of measures being taken by Royal Mail to protect both its customers and its colleagues”.