It’s been business as usual for Canada Post workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and a mail carrier in Lethbridge said he’s aware of just how vital the service currently is.
“We’ve had a lot more parcels,” said Ross Tyrie-Horsfall, a Lethbridge letter carrier and the president of the local 770 Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
“People are calling it ‘Christmas all over again’ because of our parcel volumes — which is fantastic, because people are still able to get what they want, and we can still deliver.”
Tyrie-Horsfall said he’s glad to see people ordering things online because it promotes social distancing. But in a hands-on job that requires Canada Post employees to go door to door, he said many are concerned about staying healthy.
“A lot of it has been around how many times we go to houses with things like flyers, things we don’t really consider essential but things we’re still delivering,” he said. “So it’s like… let’s look at some of the processes and try to change those things, so that they protect us and the public.”
Tyrie-Horsfall said initially he and many other local employees were frustrated with what he said are limited protective supplies, such as hand sanitizer, that was available to them, but Canada Post has allowed Lethbridge workers to find solutions.
“Management’s really opened up the floor because they can’t order through their normal suppliers, so they say, ‘Hey, if you guys can find supplies, we will expense it,’ and I think that’s great.”
In a news release on its website, Canada Post urges people to avoid interacting with mail carriers, including keeping doors closed during delivery.
The statement also asks that people respect the social distance of two metres from delivery agents, both at community mailboxes and in post offices.
Canada Post has also requested that homeowners do not allow dogs to approach employees, saying “with so many people home during the day now, the number of interactions between our employees and dogs has been increasing.”
Tyrie-Horsfall added that there are a few ways that the public can help keep postal workers safe.
“Taping up mailboxes is a good idea — it’s a bit finicky in Lethbridge because of our wind,” he laughed. “But if you sanitize your mailbox, and maintaining that social distancing is really important.
“For businesses, if you are still open, put up a mailbox — we don’t necessarily want to go in.”
Tyrie-Horsfall said that so far, Canada Post workers in Lethbridge have successfully delivered all of the mail each day. However, he added that as of Tuesday, 14 local employees were at home self-isolating.