Limited Puerto Rico mail service begins Wednesday, USPS says
SAN JUAN – Given the magnitude of the devastation caused by Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday it will begin some limited service Wednesday.
“We are looking for more of our employees still but those we reach are being provided with supplies and with the opportunities, in most cases, to return to work in some form,” USPS spokeswoman Maureen P. Marion told Caribbean Business.
She said the San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina and Mayagüez main branches, as well as the Marina and Carolina’s Pueblo stations, and the Santurce and Cayey post offices will be opening for package and post office box pickup from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers should present identification.
Postal employees will hand out mail for customers who receive street delivery, she said.
Earlier Tuesday, Marion said the agency was experiencing the same concerns “as our neighbors – gas makes it hard to report, limited cell makes it hard to know whether to report, and electricity is hit or miss,” and remained “hopeful that the early signs of recovery will permit some very limited distribution of mail possibly by week’s end.”
She stressed that service is being designed with employee and customer safety in mind and that will be “limited to only some locations” but “we are still confirming locations that are safe, secure.”
“The safety of our employees is key to the recovery effort in Puerto Rico. With their hands, their knowledge and their enthusiasm, we know we can come back strong even if it is just a few steps at a time,” she added.
Postal service to the Virgin Islands and St. Thomas, which were directly hit by the 10th most powerful hurricane ever, has limited operations in some sectors.
“We are beginning the use of barges to bring over mail to St John, at Cruz Bay. Our post office there remains inoperable. However, by cleverly using two postal trucks, we are driving mail to Cruz Bay’s post office. Our trucks are rolling on to the barge, then off, to set up on the postal grounds.
“At the end of the day, we will roll back on the barge. It is not your familiar post office but it is urgently needed postal service. And service is the word today! As we continue to explore our connectivity, we are also anticipating a return to limited retail services.
“That, along with fresh loads of mail now coming into St Thomas by air thanks to so many who supported this coordination including the office of the Lt Governor, means we could see some outbound mail service from the U.S. Virgin Islands in some locations soon as well,” the USPS spokeswoman told Caribbean Business.
USPS employees in Puerto Rico were asked to report daily by calling the hotline and selecting option 5 or via the WhatsApp messaging service at (978) 761-0380. If safe to do so, they can report in person at the postal facilities in Humacao, Carolina, Mayagüez, Ponce, Caguas, Arecibo or the general post office of San Juan, .
To obtain service updates, visit http://about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/welcome.htm.