USPS Just Sent This Major Warning to Customers
Make sure you know this if you're expecting any winter deliveries.
Whether you're trying to avoid going out in the cold weather or looking to steer clear of indoor spaces amid Omicron's spread, you're likely making extra use of online shopping these days. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is responsible for shipping and delivering packages from a number of retailers, and despite several recent winter storms on the East Coast, the agency says it's maintained an average delivery time of 2.7 days. But mail delivery can be extra challenging during these winter months, and it's important to make sure you're doing everything you need to on your end so that your packages arrive safe and sound. Read on for an important new warning from the USPS.
The USPS is asking customers to clear snow and ice from paths for mail carriers this winter.
With severe winter weather hitting many parts of the U.S. right now, the USPS is warning customers to keep their mail areas clear of snow and ice in order for carriers to get their mail to them. The Postal Service told NBC-affiliate WFMJ in Youngstown, Ohio, that it does not usually receive any funding itself for operating expenses like clearing paths.
"Postal employees make every reasonable effort to deliver mail in many difficult weather conditions. With your help, we can keep our letter carriers, your neighbors, and your property safe," the USPS said in a statement to the news outlet.
To do this, Mark Inglett, a spokesman for the USPS, told ABC-affiliate KMIZ in Columbia, Missouri, that you should "keep a path clear to your mailbox, both on the porch or a curbside mailbox, as well [as] shovel around that so [carriers] can get the vehicles up to it."
Your mail might not get delivered if you don't do this.
While creating a clear path to your mail receptacles is important to ensure the safety of USPS carriers, it's also necessary if you want your mail delivered. According to the Postal Service, a carrier reserves the right to skip your house if there is not proper access to your mailbox.
"Customers are required, as a condition of delivery, to ensure that proper access is provided to mail receptacles," the USPS warns on its website. "Proper access includes the removal of large accumulations of snow from the area around curb line receptacles and from sidewalks leading to door or other house-mounted receptacles."
If you can't remove the snow or ice, there are other options for you to get your mail.
While the USPS can delay or cut off mail delivery service whenever it is hazardous for carriers, the agency says it does so only as a last resort following careful consideration. If this does happen to you and you can't remove accumulated snow or ice in order for the carrier to reach your box, the agency offers a few alternative ways for you to get your mail.
According to the USPS, you can either arrange with a neighbor to receive your mail, put up a suitable temporary mailbox, meet the carrier at your box, or pick up your mail at your local Post Office location. "Your postmaster will be pleased to discuss these alternatives so that you may select the one most convenient for you," the Postal Service states.
There are other ways you can make it safer for carriers to deliver your mail in the winter.
Clearing out snow and ice is not the only way you can provide safer delivery conditions in the winter months. Inglett says the USPS also advises customers to keep pets inside right now, especially during more dangerous weather circumstances that might be risky for both carriers and animals. There are also fewer daylight hours in the U.S. during the winter, which can make deliveries harder for Postal Service workers who may still be working when it's dark outside. To combat this, the USPS recommends keeping outside lights, like those on the porch, turned on during winter months.
"The Postal Service places the safety of its employees and the communities we serve as a top priority," District Manager Richard Moreton told ABC-affiliate WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. "These tips can also help you and your family reduce injuries that can ruin an otherwise good day."