USPS Is Temporarily Closing Dozens of Post Offices—Here's Why
Around 200 facilities have been impacted by the same issue.
We rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to deliver our mail all year round, but no time is quite as important as the end of the year. Right now, millions of us are racing to the post office to ship out last-minute holiday card and Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, some individuals across the country are about to encounter closed facilities. The USPS has temporarily closed post offices for a number of reasons already this year, but the agency is currently shuttering dozens of facilities throughout the U.S. for the same reason. Read on to find out more about these ill-timed closures.
READ THIS NEXT: USPS Is Getting Rid of This Service, Starting in January.
The Postal Service is shuttering post offices in several states.
The USPS provides regularly updated information concerning operational disruptions through its Service Alerts website. Consumers can use this page to find out if their "mail is being delivered, or if their post offices are open," per the Postal Service.
According to the latest update, the agency has temporarily closed post offices in five different states: Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
As of Dec. 16, Minnesota facilities in the cities of McGregor and Willow are temporarily closed. In Nebraska, post offices have been shuttered in Ainsworth, Crookston, Gordon, Harrisburg, Lakeside, Merriman, Rushville, Whiteman, and Wood Lake. In North Dakota, more than 70 post offices have been closed, including one in the capital of Bismarck, and in South Dakota, over 100 facilities have shut down, including some in major cities like Aberdeen. Finally, in Wisconsin, post offices in Merrillan, Weyerhaeuser, and Withee are closed to customers.
The agency is citing weather concerns.
The Postal Service has paused operations at roughly 200 post offices in five different states for the same reason: unsafe conditions this winter.
According to the USPS, all of these facilities are "temporarily closed due to weather." A massive storm brought snow levels above a foot in states like Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, per CNN.
Deliveries have also been impacted. Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a regional spokesperson for the Postal Service, told the Duluth News Tribune on Dec. 14 that postal carriers were pulled from their routes amid the blizzard.
"We wouldn't deliver mail in a tornado," Abdul-Razzaaq told the Minnesota-based newspaper. "When weather conditions are so bad and the safety of our carriers are at risk, then, yes, we do cancel until weather permits."
You should be clearing walkways and areas around your mailboxes.
These facilities won't be closed permanently, of course. And Abdul-Razzaaq told the Duluth News Tribune that carriers will resume deliveries in impacted areas "as soon as weather permits."
But in order to do so, the USPS needs your help. In local news releases for Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, the Postal Service needs assistance to "keep letter carriers safe as they deliver mail" this winter.
"The Postal Service is asking customers to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, stairs and mailboxes," the agency said in one release. "Snow and ice make delivery dangerous and slow. Maintaining a clear path to the mailbox—including steps, porches, walkways and street approach—will help letter carriers maintain consistent delivery service."
The USPS also warned that it can and will suspend delivery service from certain residences if streets and walkways are too hazardous for carriers or if snow is piled against mailboxes. "The Postal Service curtails delivery only after careful consideration, and only as a last resort," the agency said.
USPS is suspending one of its services this week with weather in mind.
Winter weather will soon be impacting another service for the USPS. On Dec. 19, EcommerceBytes reported that the Postal Service is suspending its Priority Mail Express guarantee this week. This refers to the "next day to 2-day delivery service by 6 p.m. with a money-back guarantee," according to the agency's website.
In an alert sent to shippers, the Postal Service confirmed that it would be pausing the guarantee between Dec. 22 and Dec. 25 as a result of weather concerns amid heightened holiday shipping demands.
"During the holidays, increased volume and weather conditions may affect the ability to transport all Priority Mail Expres one-day shipments. Similar to our competitors, the Postal Service has an adjusted postage refund policy for Priority Mail Express sent during Dec. 22 through 25," the agency said in its statement, per EcommerceBytes. "While the Postal Service fully expects Priority Mail Express to remain one-day where available, postage will not be refunded unless the first delivery attempt or delivery occurs more than two delivery days after the Acceptance scan event."