COVID-19 has continued to be at the center of everything we do, and shipping and receiving packages are no exception. While there is still a lot unknown about mailing items during COVID-19 and if it spreads on packages, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure you are protecting yourself when receiving packages and following the proper steps if you are shipping to others! Don't know where to start? Curious if you should disinfect your packages? Unsure of what materials to use? We have you covered with all the information you may need to ensure safe mailing during COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV2. COVID-19 has rocked the world as we know it, changing the way we approach things every single day. Yet, safety precautions have continued to be implemented to keep everyone safe.
Is it Safe to Mail Packages During COVID-19?
The short answer is yes! It is safe to ship mail during COVID-19. However, guidelines have been put in place to keep the shipper and receiver safe while mailing during COVID-19. While there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Surgeon General believe that COVID-19 is unlikely to be spread from packages through the mail.
These guidelines have been put in place to be safe in case COVID-19 can survive on mailers even for a short period of time. Following these guidelines helps protect everyone from the shipper and receiver to those transporting these packages.
Precautions to Take When Packaging at Home
- Wash Your Hands
- Wear Gloves
- Sanitize Materials
- Keep Products in Sanitary Location
Be Sure to Wash Your Hands!
Before working with any of the products, you will be shipping to other people, wash your hands. Washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent germs from spreading. Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before handling any products you will be packaging.
Wear Gloves While You Pack!
While washing your hands is a crucial step, an extra precaution is to wear gloves when packaging your products to mail during COVID-19. While it can be time-consuming, changing gloves each time you package a new product continues to keep germs at a minimum while making sure each product has no contamination that could come from another product.
Sanitize Your Workspace and Materials
Before you begin packaging your products and preparing them for shipment, sanitize your workspace and the products you will be using. You can do this between uses as well to avoid any germs or contamination. Sanitizing and disinfecting packages that you are preparing to ship will help to prevent the spread of germs!
Keep Products in a Safe Location
You should continue to disinfect packages and materials you are using, as well as keep them in a safe space where they won't encounter numerous germs. For example, if you ship shirts, always keep them in an airtight container until you are ready to ship them. Then, before you place them in the package, follow the steps above to prevent germs. This will also keep your customers’ minds at ease, knowing that you take extra precautions when shipping each product during COVID-19.
Ways to Ship During COVID-19
- Schedule a Pickup
- Visit a Store
Schedule a Pickup Right from Your House
You packaged everything, took the proper precautions, and made sure to keep the germs at bay while preparing your shipments. If you aren't comfortable going to the store, you can schedule your packages to be picked up right at your door. For those who are at a higher risk for COVID-19, this is a great option. Since mailing packages is not a contactless process, you can package and print everything from home and have it picked up for mailing during COVID-19. This will help you avoid standing inside with other customers and having to touch pens and other materials that may or may not have been sanitized.
Visiting a Store In Person
If you are at a higher risk for COVID-19, you may not want to visit a facility to ship your package. However, sometimes you may have to due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of postage or materials. If you must set foot inside a facility, follow the CDC's recommended guidelines to protect yourself. Continue to wear a mask, social distance at least six feet or more, wash and sanitize your hands throughout the process, and avoid spending too much time indoors.
If you feel comfortable, you can ask your local facility when the busier times are to avoid them. With the holidays looming, more people will visit to try and get packages to loved ones before the holidays arrive. It is also essential to make sure the facility you are visiting is following the proper guidelines. This includes making sure that all employees are wearing masks, there are well-explained social-distancing guidelines, and barriers are up to avoid close contact.
Shipping with USPS During COVID-19
While you are taking precautions at home to prevent germs and follow proper CDC guidelines for COVID-19, the United States Post Office is also working to protect its customers, making sure to mitigate the spread of germs and avoid unnecessary contact. When you arrive at a USPS location, you will be asked to keep your distance from others waiting in line. In addition, when you get to the counter, guidelines have been put in place requiring you to maintain a certain distance from the counter to avoid close contact with those working.
The need for a signature has also been modified temporarily to avoid numerous customers getting close to the counter to sign and using the same pen as others. Instead, the employee will ask for your information to put it into the computer on your behalf. Social distance tape has been placed on the floor, and signs have been placed throughout the facility to remind everyone to keep a safe distance apart. Limits have also been put in place as to how many can be in the facility at one time. Employees are required to wear masks, and all those inside the facility are also encouraged to wear one.
Is it Safe to Receive a Package from a Delivery Driver?
Delivery drivers follow CDC guidelines to make sure they stay safe and keep others safe while delivering packages every day to numerous people and locations. These drivers are advised to wear a face-covering at all times while making deliveries. In addition, when applicable, practicing contactless delivery is strongly advised. This includes leaving deliveries outside of the person's house, confirming receipt if required more than six feet away from the person, and doing everything else electronically when possible. This will continue to eliminate the need for close contact while completing deliveries for COVID-19 mailings.
These drivers are also advised to disinfect all materials after every delivery, including the inside of their vehicle. These guidelines were put in place to keep the drivers safe during their routes. When possible, washing hands as often as possible is a crucial step to avoid spreading any germs. These guidelines are for all delivery drives, including Amazon, DHS, FedEx, Purolator, UPS, and USPS drivers.
Is it Safe to Accept Packages during COVID-19?
It is perfectly safe to receive packages during COIVD-19. In addition, studies have shown that it is a minimal chance for the virus to live for extending times on packaging. If you are worried about your packages anyway, you can disinfect your packages.
Should I Disinfect My Packages?
It is not necessary to disinfect your packages; however, taking extra precautions like disinfecting your packages upon receiving them is not a bad idea. These precautions help to prevent the spread of any germs, even if COVID-19 has a low risk of still being on your package. Disinfecting your packages, while not required, is recommended, especially for those at a higher risk of COVID-19.
How Do I Disinfect My Packages?
- Wear Gloves
- Choose a Disinfectant Wipe or Spray
- Spray the Packaging and/or Wipe it Down
- Let it Air Dry
- Open the Package While Wearing Gloves
- Dispose of the Packaging and Gloves
- Wash Your Hands
These are the best steps to disinfecting your packages once you receive them. Taking these extra precautions protects yourself, even if COVID-19 has a low risk of being on your package when you receive it. Sanitizing your package and thoroughly washing your hands after handling it are essential steps in preventing the spread of any germs.
Should I Use Disposable Packaging?
Disposable packaging is a popular choice among users who continue to ship at a high rate during COVID-19. The choice to use disposable packaging as a mailer during COVID-19 is solely based on preference. Disposable packaging is an excellent choice as a mailer during COVID-19 because it is easy to disinfect the package. Thus, having the option to disinfect your mailer during COVID-19 without affecting the mailer in any way.
What Types of Disposable Packaging are Best to Use?
If you are looking for a disposable packaging option or an added layer of protection for your packages, poly mailers are a great option. Poly mailers are lightweight and are sturdy plastic bags meant to ship products. While thin, they don't take up a lot of space and are a great option to use for shipping.
You can also use poly mailers during COVID-19 to add an extra layer of protection to your shipping products. If you choose to use your mailer for added protection, you can disinfect your packages at home, keeping them well protected from other germs. These mailers during COVID-19 are an optimal packaging choice and have easy to disinfect packaging.
How is COVID-19 Impacting the Mail?
- Slower Packages
- Delayed Packages
- Lack of International Packages
- Higher Prices
Packages are No Longer On-Time
While on-time guarantees used to be offered from every facility, they can no longer be upheld, so guarantees on when packages will arrive are currently nonexistent. This is because mailing during COVID-19 has affected every aspect of the shipping process.
Many packages are missing or delayed. One of the reasons for this is that many things are delayed being shipped due to numerous back-ordered products. Another reason is that packages are getting held up at numerous different destinations. While tracking used to be a great way to see where your package is, many labels aren't being scanned due to an overwhelming number of packages.
International Packages are Blocked
Currently, you cannot order international packages and expect them to arrive. In addition, many countries have continued to suspend in-bound mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic halting many orders or future orders until further notice.
As expected, the demand for products continues driving the prices higher. In addition, due to the extended delays of shipments, costs have continued to inflate, including postage price.
What to Expect for the Holidays During COVID-19?
- Long Waits
- Out of Stock Items
Delays are Imminent
Delays are expected to happen during the holidays this year due to COVID-19. This is because many people are trying to buy products at once and get them to the recipient by a specific date. This puts extended pressure on workers who will see a high demand in shipments.
Long Wait Times
The wait time for products will be extended as well. This is because many consumers will be trying to buy numerous products making the demand even higher. This can cause extended wait times that may not be fulfilled on time.
Out of Stock Products
While some products may be offered with extended waits and shipping times, many products will be out of stock and will not be in stock again until after the holidays. This is because many companies will need to stop production at a certain point to fulfill all holiday orders and get them to their intended recipients for the holiday deadlines.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines
This year, UPS, FedEx, and USPS all recommend shipping all your items no later than December 15, 2021, using ground shipping for your items to arrive in time for Christmas. While these are recommended dates, the earlier you get your gift in the mail, the better chance it will arrive by the desired date. Understand that while these dates are offered to customers, delays can still happen.
And that's it! While that was a lot of information, it is all to benefit everyone involved. Mailing during COVID-19 comes with many suggested guidelines and protocols to follow, but they are meant to keep everyone safe. So, start your shopping today and give yourself plenty of time to get those packages out! Don’t forget to disinfect your packages and COVID-19 mailers to remove any germs.