Update From Royal Mail

Fiona has received an update from Royal Mail. Please see details below:

"I would like to assure you that we continue to work hard to collect, process and deliver as much mail and parcels as possible in difficult circumstances. 

Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously. We are doing so in line with preventative guidance from public health authorities. Public Health England (PHE) has advised that no additional precautions are needed for handling letters or parcels. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages. 

The Government has said that we are key workers. We are connecting customers and communities, which is more important now than ever. We are working together with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Unite to play our part as in delaying or mitigating coronavirus, whilst continuing to deliver mail in your constituency. To that end, we have put in place a range of preventative measures to protect both our customers and our colleagues:

Protecting our colleagues

We have introduced a range of new social distancing measures aimed at offering further protection for our colleagues. Standard ways of working are being revised to ensure that, wherever possible, colleagues stay two metres apart. We are implementing a new rule that means there will only be one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time. Processes have been further reviewed to minimise the passing of work between colleagues. We are calling for the washing of hands when colleagues enter and leave Royal Mail buildings, as well as at regular times during the day. We have good supplies of soap and paper towels. We are also providing disposable latex gloves on request. 

Protecting our customers

We have taken several steps to protect both our people and customers. For example, our postmen and women will now leave parcels on doorsteps and step back to a safe distance for the customer to collect the item. We are also temporarily not handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures. Postmen and postwomen will instead log the name of the person accepting the item and can sign on their behalf. We recognise that post is important to the elderly, particularly those away from their friends and families in care homes. Therefore, we have been delivering to a central point (e.g. reception) rather than individual addresses within care homes since last week. These are just a few examples of how we are changing. 

Maintaining service levels

Royal Mail is playing an important role keeping our customers connected throughout the coronavirus crisis. This includes delivering medical and pharmaceutical supplies to people who may not have the option to leave their homes. We also continue to deliver door to door mailings, to customers who are receiving addressed letters or parcels at the same time, wherever practically possible. Door to door mailings provide a very valuable service to small businesses and companies of all kinds as they seek to provide their goods and services. Many small businesses now need this support more than ever as they struggle to stay in business in the midst of the lockdown. This means they can safeguard local jobs as well as the local economy. As you know yourself, the government and other public bodies are also delivering important public messages about coronavirus via door-to-door mailings.

As cases of coronavirus increase across the country, we are experiencing growing levels of employee absence due to illness and self-isolation. Despite our best endeavours, it is likely that some areas of the country will experience a reduction in service levels due to coronavirus-related absences at the local mail centre or delivery office. We will continue to actively monitor this rapidly evolving crisis."