The Coronavirus Could Be The “Last Straw’ For The U.S. Postal Service

The Coronavirus Could Be Causing A Lot More Trouble For The U.S. Postal Service
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The coronavirus pandemic is ongoing and rapidly spreading. It has affected businesses, both large and small, worldwide. Especially for businesses that were already struggling before the virus hit, right now is a very scary time for a lot of them. The U.S. Postal Service is one of the “essential businesses” that had been struggling long before the coronavirus hit, and you may have not even realized it.

Overall mail volume and the accompanying revenue could possibly decrease by 50% this year. Should they run out of money, this could mean dark times for USPS. This fear, in addition to concern about letter carriers being exposed to the virus, could mean big trouble for USPS and soon.

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USPS struggling to stay afloat

coronavirus impacting the USPS
USPS delivery driver and truck / Courtesy of USPS

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service. “We need to start thinking in those apocalyptic terms, because we are about to face the apocalypse,” he says in an interview. He says that this crisis could be “the final straw” for the already-struggling USPS service. Connolly believes that without some sort of intervention, they could run out of money as early as June this year.

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“There’s a growing anxiety that they’re at risk and that there’s not sufficient resources to protect them even in the most minimal of ways like hand sanitizers or gloves or the like,” Connolly says. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan has responded to some of these concerns. “We are promoting healthy behaviors and protocols and encouraging any employee who feels sick to stay home,” she said. “In order to further encourage this behavior, we have updated our leave policies to allow liberal use of leave.”

Mail volume has been dropping since 2010

coronavirus impacting USPS
USPS worker staying safe while delivering mail during coronavirus / Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Brennan, however, has acknowledged some of USPS’s problems in the past. He says that “we are continuing to work to overcome gaps in the supply chain to insure that our employees have access to hand sanitizer masks and gloves.”

Although USPS seems to be struggling to stay afloat, other carrier services such as UPS and FedEx Express continues to evolve. Total mail volume has shrunk from 170.9 billion pieces of mail in 2010 to 146.4 billion in 2018, according to Yahoo! Finance.

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