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Postal workers adapt procedures, emphasize safety during COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 17:00:40-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Since the start of the pandemic, many people across different industries have been on the front lines working every day.

Monday, News 3 got a behind the scenes look with the United States Postal Service with how they’ve adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navy veteran Jimmie Summerhill has been a USPS mail carrier for 13 years.

He said the pandemic hasn't slowed him down.

“I'm still connecting senders and receivers and getting the appreciation from our customers daily,” Summerhill said.

Lately, his uniform has included a mask while going door to door and mailbox to mailbox.

“Just being constantly aware of your surroundings,” he said.

Traci Miller serves as Postmaster for the City of Chesapeake.

“Our primary job is to bind a nation together through communication,” Miller said. “We're going to be at every address in the country. Every single day.”

She and Summerhill told News 3 the pandemic has led to a spike in deliveries.

“We say Christmas is our go time. Christmas is our time. That's our peak season. Right now, we're experiencing more than peak season volume,” Miller said.

Miller said, for USPS, sanitizing and supplies are top of mind.

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“We made sure that we provided masks [and] we provided hand sanitizer,” she said. “If we had to travel to Richmond to get it, then that's what we did.”

They've also adapted procedures emphasizing safety and social distancing in post offices and out in the field.

This includes mail carriers knocking on doors instead of using doorbells, keeping a safe distance, and instead of asking you for a signature, they'll ask for your first initial and last name.

“[A] doorbell is a common area of people touching it,” Summerhill said. “It helps us from contracting any contagious germs, or anything like that.”

During these times, ‘Handle with Care’ is not just a message concerning packages, but for those who deliver them.

“Take the proper precautions, get some rest and take care of you,” Miller said. “You are appreciated.”

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