Coronavirus pandemic means tight holiday shipping deadlines

Procrastinators beware: You are running out of time to ship mail in hopes of arrival by Christmas Day.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said it is seeing an unprecedented increase in the amount of mail this holiday season; there are some things you should know to make sure it gets there by Dec. 25.

'Twas a week before Christmas when all standing in line hoped their packages would make it to their destinations on time.

Mary Howard-Johnstone is spreading Christmas cheer, sending packages to loved ones she won't be seeing this year.

"I think it’s real important to continue to celebrate. You’re just going to be doing it differently," Howard-Johnston said. "Certainly because of the pandemic we feel it’s better to be safe than sorry. We certainly want to follow the guidelines that are put out by the CDC."

U.S. Post Office in Milwaukee

As more and more people, like Howard-Johnstone, choose to ship gifts instead of giving them in person, USPS said it is seeing an unprecedented increase in volume. With that, coupled with limited employee availability due to the coronavirus, they are asking people for their patience.

"Due to the circumstances at this time, we’re just putting the information out there, just to give our customers satisfaction and let them know that we are doing our best at this particular time," said Rodney Owens, USPS customer relations coordinator.

U.S. Post Office in Milwaukee

There is also a big change this year for last-minute shoppers. To guarantee delivery by Christmas using overnight shipping, the deadline is now Dec. 23.

"We normally do it all the way up until the 24th, but due to forecasted circumstances this year, we bumped that date up to the 23rd," Owens said.

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With her packages already on their way, Howard-Johnstone isn't concerned about which day.

"I’m not worried. If they get there after Christmas that’s OK, too," she said.

The deadline for priority shipping to ensure delivery by Christmas is Saturday, Dec. 19.

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