On the 23rd of March 2020, the UK Government announced that from midnight the country would be going into full lockdown as social distancing measures were not being effectively practised. Our team have been working around the clock to prepare your orders and dispatch them as we usually would Mon-Friday before 5 PM.
We are still operating as normal but Royal Mail are clearly feeling the strain and we are seeing more delays to deliveries in certain areas around the country while workers are self-isolating, off sick and mail centres struggling to process their normal volumes of mail.
We are not alone in this series of delayed shipments, we are in constant communication with other leading online retailers in our industry and everyone is seeing the same issues with the national mail service.
Here is an official statement from Royal Mail:
We are committed to ensuring we deliver for the country. Our colleagues are keeping the mail moving – delivering letters and parcels across the UK, including to those who find it difficult to leave their homes.
Throughout this crisis, we will continue to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers. However, as cases of coronavirus increase across the UK we, along with other organisations, are experiencing growing levels of employee absence due to illness and self-isolation.
Absence rates are currently double what we normally expect at this time of year. To manage these severe absence levels – which are growing – we are implementing a range of mitigations. These include suspending the 1 pm time guarantee on Special Delivery and deploying non-operational managers in Delivery. We are working closely with approximately 11,000 Post Offices that remain open to provide another avenue – where appropriate – for you to access essential mail services.
Despite our best endeavours, it is likely that some areas of the country will experience a reduction in service levels due to coronavirus-related absences at their local mail centre or delivery office.
We will continue to actively monitor this rapidly evolving crisis. We will keep talking to you. And, we will continue to focus on the delivery of our two priorities: i) safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our people and the communities we serve; and ii) delivering as comprehensive a service as possible at all times.
Thank you for your support and patience.
Signing for and receiving items
In order to protect both our people and customers as much as possible, we are minimising contact during delivery. We will not be handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead, log the name of the person accepting the item. Additionally, for all customers where we need to deliver any item that won’t fit through your letterbox, we will place your item at your door. Having knocked on your door, we will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside.
Special Delivery Guaranteed by 4 PM
For items posted from Thursday 19 March 2020 onwards, we’ll no longer guarantee deliveries by 4 pm the next working day. We’ll still prioritise Special Delivery parcels and letters and will aim to deliver by 4 pm or before the end of the day. Resource implications of the latest coronavirus advice mean we may not be able to meet the customer promise of guaranteed next day delivery in all locations at all times.
Our Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9 am service remains unchanged; we still guarantee to deliver by 9 am.
Delivering to care homes
The Government has introduced measures to protect our most vulnerable groups, including those in residential care. These include limiting all but essential access to care homes for external contractors.
We recognise that post is important to the elderly, particularly those away from their friends and families in care homes. Therefore, to support the effort to keep the mail moving but prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we are making arrangements to deliver to a central point (e.g. reception) rather than individual addresses within care homes from 19th March. These changes will help to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our people and the vulnerable in society.
Changes to Door to door mailings
We will deliver unaddressed door to door advertising mailings to customers who are receiving addressed letters or parcels at the same time, wherever practically possible.
Door to door mailings provides a very valuable service to small businesses and companies of all kinds as they seek to provide their goods and services. Many small businesses need that support now more than ever. They want to send it, many consumers want to receive it. Door to door mailings also includes important communications from the local government.