19 mar 20

COVID-19: more people are home to receive their parcels

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The coronavirus may have brought public life to a halt in many European countries, it’s still business as usual for some industries. Postal companies and other delivery companies continue serving the public, though many have adapted their procedures.


David Abney, CEO, UPS, said: “The WHO and CDC have stated that the likelihood of catching the COVID-19 virus by touching cardboard or other another shipping container is low.” Except where limited by government restrictions, UPS is indeed maintaining delivery services.

UPS has provided its staff with strict guidelines to avoid spreading the infection. At the same time, the company has agreed to pay a 10-day paid-leave policy that covers around 300,000 employees if they should become directly impacted by the coronavirus.


the Belgian mail carrier Bpost has announced it continues its postal service within the country, though international mail is being affected. A spokesperson said: "The cancellation of many flights by airlines companies has prompted many postal companies in recent days to announce the suspension or delays in the sending and distribution of letters and parcels to non-European countries. This is among others the case for Denmark, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Norway and Sweden."

Bpost will also suspend sending letters and parcels to destinations outside of Europe. For that reason, clients in Belgium have been invited not to post letters and parcels for destinations outside of Europe.


Food delivery service Deliveroo has set in place contactless deliveries. “There is no contact between the customer and the rider or between the restaurant and the rider,” said Rodolphe Van Nuffel, the spokesman for Deliveroo Belgium. “We have sent information to restaurants to help them organise everything internally and our riders have received a video showing them how the handover should be done.”

In Belgium, as in a number of other countries, all restaurants and bars have been ordered to close but takeaway and deliveries are still allowed. “Some restaurants have decided to close completely but at the same time we have also been approached by a lot of restaurants that want to join us now. Fortunately, we can add new restaurants quite fast,” said Mr Van Nuffel.

So far no Deliveroo riders have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Nevertheless, Deliveroo created a rider fund in case that would happen. All riders are self-employed but Deliveroo has set aside this fund so drivers that are required to go into quarantine or drivers that are diagnosed with COVID-19 can still receive a fixed fee.


The Dutch mail carrier PostNL has also implemented changes to its procedures. Upon receiving a delivery, customers will no longer be asked to sign the deliverer’s hand-held scanner. Instead, the deliverer will take down the last three digits of the customer’s passport or driving licence card and sign for them.

Dagna Hoogkamer, a spokesperson for PostNL, points to a suprising silver lining to the current situation. “It’s convenient for our deliverers that so many people are working from home now, so more parcels can be delivered to the customer than usually.”

To date, it is not yet possible to comment on an increase or a decrease of particular mail volumes. “Our organisation is flexible enough to deal with peak demand at times like these, just like we also do each year at Christmas time,” said Ms Hoogkamer.

International deliveries are also disrupted. If direct flights to destinations are suspended, PostNL looks for alternatives, including ships. Some destinations, however, can no longer be served for the time being. The full list is detailed on their website.

Image copyright: PostNL

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck