USPS Is Suspending Services Here "Due to Safety Issues"
The agency says safety is a top priority for postal operations.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) works hard to deliver mail and provide other essential services at post offices across the country on an almost daily basis. But sometimes there are impediments in the way. The USPS occasionally finds itself at the mercy of "unusual circumstances" that affect the agency's normal operations through shipping suspensions and facility closures. This includes anything from staffing fluctuations to severe weather—or even "safety issues," which the Postal Service is now struggling with in multiple areas. Read on to find out where the USPS is suspending services as a result of these concerns.
The Postal Service considers safety to be a top priority.
The USPS has made it clear numerous times that it is not willing to put employees or customers in harm's way in order to maintain normal service. Over the last year alone, the agency has temporarily closed hundreds of post offices during natural disasters like Hurricane Ian, and suspended deliveries in certain neighborhoods over attacks on postal carriers.
"The safety of our employees and our customers is a priority for the Postal Service," the USPS said in a Sept. 2022 statement when it suspended operations in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Ian.
In an interview with The Vindicator that same month, USPS spokesperson Naddia Dhalai added that ensuring safe conditions is "paramount" to the agency's service. "The safety of our delivery employees and the aim to provide great customer service are both paramount to who we are as an organization," Dhalai told the newspaper after the Postal Service halted deliveries in an Ohio neighborhood in light of a carrier being attacked by a loose dog on the street.
Now, the commitment to this priority is prompting the USPS to adjust its operations in another area.
The agency is now suspending services in Michigan for safety reasons.
The Postal Service is starting the new year with safety on its mind. In one of the newest updates to its Service Alerts tool, the agency revealed that it is suspending services at a facility in Michigan. The Orchards Mall Post Office in Benton Harbor has just been "closed due to safety issues," according to the Jan. 4 alert.
"Retail and PO Box mail operations for this facility have been moved to Benton Harbor Main Office," the USPS said. The two post offices appear to be just over three miles apart.
PO Box customers from the Orchards Mall Post Office will have to get their mail from the Benton Harbor facility, but the agency indicated three additional locations customers can use for retail transactions: Saint Joseph Post Office, Sodus Post Office, and Stevensville Post Office.
The Orchards Mall was just flooded.
Despite issuing a separate local news release about the temporary closure, the Postal Service hasn't elaborated much on the specific "safety issues" impacting the Orchards Mall Post Office. The USPS simply said the decision to close this facility was made "to ensure the safety of both postal customers and employees," adding, "The Postal Service apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closure may cause our customers."
But recent news reports out of Benton Harbor may shed some light on the situation. The Orchards Mall is currently closed to customers after it was discovered that a water main burst, The Herald-Palladium reported on Dec. 29.
Norbert Zimpfer, owner of Doctor ZZZZ'Z Mattress Center (which is one of the only businesses left in the mall), told the newspaper that the break had flooded several parts of the mall. "It was like a river going through," he said.
The USPS post office was not flooded, according to Zimpfer. But subsequent water damage and dangerous conditions at the mall could be contributing to its closure.
This is not the only USPS facility currently closed for safety reasons.
The Orchards Mall Post Office closure is only the most recent on the Postal Service's lineup, and several other facilities remain closed.
The Pemberton Post Office in Ohio and the Stanley Post Office in New York are both still shuttered after the USPS temporarily closed them back in October. Both facilities were also closed "due to safety concerns," as the Pemberton Post Office is dealing with fire damage and the Stanley Post Office is undergoing roof repairs.
A post office in Wisner, Louisiana, has not reopened after its closure in November either. At the time, the USPS said that the facility was also being shuttered "due to safety concerns." The Wisner Post Office is also in need of repairs, and it will remain closed "until repairs can be made," according to the agency.