USPS Is Making This Unprecedented Change to Service, Starting June 20
This major change is years in the making, and will affect your mail's arrival.
While the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wasn't officially established as a federal agency until 1971, Americans have been relying on a nationwide postal system since the late 1700s when Benjamin Franklin was appointed by Congress as the first Postmaster General. Even after centuries of operations, however, the USPS still has room for firsts. The agency recently confirmed that it is gearing up to make an unprecedented change this year—and it will impact customers across the U.S. Read on to find out what the Postal Service will start doing for the first time ever next week.
The USPS has made a number of changes recently.
The Postal Service is no stranger to changes—and there have been several in the last few months alone. In April, the agency introduced two new shipping fees for customers sending packages with nonstandard dimensions, and in May, it slowed down delivery times for one-third of its First-Class packages.
And that's not all. The USPS has also filed plans with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to raise the prices of First-Class Mail by 6.5 percent, starting July 10. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently warned customers that the agency will continue to increase costs at an "uncomfortable" rate over the next few years.
Thankfully, the latest change will likely be looked on more favorably than the others.
The Postal Service just announced a significant service change.
The Postal Service just confirmed that it will make an unprecedented change later this month. In an announcement posted to the USPS website on June 15, the agency said that it will close all post offices across the country for the Juneteenth holiday this year. While Juneteenth falls on June 19, the postal agency will "recognize this federal holiday" on the next business day, June 20. "Post offices will be closed for retail transactions" on this date, the USPS said, adding that there will also be "no regular mail delivery" for the day either.
"Post Offices will open, and regular mail delivery will resume, Tuesday, June 21," the agency said.
This is the first year the USPS will be closing post offices for this holiday.
Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the U.S. on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. The holiday recognizes the day in which over 200,000 enslaved Black Americans were informed that they were finally free—more than two years after former President Abraham Lincoln actually issued the Emancipation Proclamation, according to Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). "Since then, June 19 has been recognized as Juneteenth as a celebration of the de facto end of the brutal institution of slavery in the United States," Power said.
This is the first year that the Postal Service is closing post offices and stopping mail delivery in observance of the holiday. In a June 2021 statement, the agency said that while it was "fully supportive" of making June 19 a federal holiday, it was "not possible to cease" its operations over the following 24 to 48 hours in order to observe Juneteenth last year.
"We are part of the nation's critical infrastructure and our customers are relying on us to deliver our essential services," the USPS said at the time. "Closing down our operations without providing appropriate time would lead to operational disruptions and be a disservice to our customers and those who rely upon us."
The Postal Service will still be conducting certain operations over the holidays.
There are some exceptions to the Postal Service's decision to start observing Juneteenth as an official holiday. According to the USPS, carriers will still be delivering Priority Mail Express items on June 20. Customers may also mail their packages using their credit card or debit card at the agency's Self-Service Kiosks (SSK), which are located across the U.S. and accessible 24 hours a day. You can perform several other services at these kiosks, including purchasing certain stamps.
"Postal employees are reminding customers that the U.S. Postal Service never stops working—even on a holiday. Our dedicated workforce will continue to collect, process, sort, and transport mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week," the agency said. "Whether you are paying bills, mailing those special cards, or shipping packages, stop by your local Post Office while you're out and about on the long holiday weekend. You may deposit letters or cards into a blue collection box in front of the building or take mail inside the facility and place items in our lobby drop chutes."