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Postal workers dealing with Christmas level parcel rush in May

'For the past couple of weeks now we have been averaging 50 to 100 parcels per walk, just on foot walk alone'
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20200319 postal worker parcels
Parcels pile up at the Canada Post facility on Worthington Street in North Bay. Photo submitted.

Katrina Chung says it feels like Christmas at their Canada Post facility in downtown North Bay. 

Chung, the president of the Canadian Postal Workers Union Local 576, says the mail was light early on in the pandemic back in March, but in April the amount of parcel traffic started to increase significantly and that continues today. 

"For the past couple of weeks now we have been averaging 50 to 100 parcels per walk, just on foot walk alone," said Chung.  

"So it is a challenge to get all the product out because we have people off on high-risk, we have people off on annual leave, and if people come up with symptoms they have to be off for 14 days so we are working with limited staff as well." 

The local workers have had a lot to deal with during the pandemic. In fact, early on their building was shut down due to a COVID-19 scare in their building on Worthington Street. That forced the facility close down in late March for three days for deep cleaning, while the individual who was a presumptive positive ended up testing negative for COVID-19. 

See related: North Bay Canada Post building shut down due to COVID-19 scare

"It impacted a lot of us, and it made us very anxious," admitted Chung. 

"We got through that. We have not had a scare since so it is really dealing with the stress of the burden of the parcels. To me, it is almost worse than Christmas right now. Just because you have people ordering multiple things. So some households are getting two to five packages in one delivery as opposed to one."

But what does keep them going is how appreciative many residents have been to these hard-working frontline postal workers. 

"We feel very appreciated by our customers on our walks," said Chung. 

"So when I go and walk and deliver my mail I notice every couple of days new people will have a stick up for their mailbox or take their lid off their mailbox. A lot of children are putting up thank you signs on the mailboxes or on painted rocks and leaving in front of the mailboxes and I do get a lot of thank you's because everyone is home."

And if you have a parcel on the way, Chung just asks you to be a little bit more patient.   

"We are doing the best we can," she said.  

"Some days there is too much volume and we have to leave some behind, but we do catch up as it gets lighter throughout the week. Today a lot of the carriers had over 100 parcels through our scanners. Thankfully there have not been many flyers so the burden and the weight of the flyers have been kind of taken over by the parcels."  

And after all, it isn't Christmas.  


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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