By Don Ford

PLEASANT HILL (KPIX 5) – Along with the annual avalanche of Christmas packages, the US Postal Service faces new challenges in 2020, including there is the tidal wave of online shopping due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, not to mention the virus itself.

“Well, we’re just like other employers that we have to be cognoscente of the fact that you may have a case and we do have those. There’s no denying that,” said USPS spokesperson Augie Ruiz. “It’s sporadic.”

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The USPS said they have had very few cases but when a case is discovered, it triggers mandated CDC guidelines; targeted sanitation, deep cleanings of work spaces and quarantine. All when there’s an historic workload during unprecedented times.

Monica Thow noticed somethings was up with her mail. She checks it twice a day, sometimes more. Thow said her mail carrier was gone a couple days and no one was available to take his place.

“The talk is there’s been a lot of frustration,” she said.

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“Nobody was able to take his route. So, for a few days there wasn’t service in this area and it just piled up and waited for him,” Thow went on to say.

Ruiz explained, “It’s mostly a local issue. It really all depends on the volume that each particular Post Office may be inundated with.”

The USPS urges customers to get their packages in as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the deadline for sending regular ground packages to arrive before Christmas already passed on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the USPS deadline for First Class mail service is on December 18.

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A full list of holiday postal deadlines can be found here.