ROCKFORD (WREX) — If you've noticed delays in sending or receiving packages in the mail, you're not alone. Mail carriers have struggled to keep up since the pandemic began.
Rockford Postal Shoppe Co-Owner Larry Hinkle is asking his customers a very important question.
"Has to be there or wants to be there," said Hinkle.
Hinkle says COVID -19 is wreaking havoc for all of his mail carriers and says shipments aren't going out as fast as they were before the pandemic.
"Commercial air craft is not in the air the way it used to be as much so they don't have that space available. We were seeing slowdowns in our priority mail and some of our packages weren't tracking. We have been trying to tell people that priority mail is not three to five days., it can be averaging a week to two," said Hinkle.
Hinkle says staff is working like it would in December during peak season but this time without the additional help.
"It goes up 10 times what it normally is. Instead of 10 UPS boxes we now do 100 UPS boxes. It is a similar service that the post office, and UPS and FedEx are all going through now. Everybody is buying everything online because they don't want to go out in public to buy it so their volume is overwhelmed," said Hinkle.
"Pre-pandemic it would come within that week I ordered it, where as now I'm a little more careful and I try to order it and give it at least two weeks so that I know I have it when I need it," said Rockford resident Elana Schelling-Tufte.
Postal Shoppe says in a few months, mail-in ballots could pose a concern if people wait till the last minute.
"We just have to accept the new standard. The post-shipping pandemic which is what it used to be maybe times three or four now," said Hinkle.
"I registered to get one [mail-in ballot] already, so as soon as it comes mail those in as soon as you can. Get them in early," said Schelling-Tufte.
Adopting a new gold standard for delivery time while being patient and planning ahead.
Hinkle says he hopes the post office will come up with a drop off service for mail-in ballots to avoid contact with other mail providers.