Christmas deliveries sent through the US Postal Service have been backed up for weeks due to a record-setting volume of mail and coronavirus-stricken employees, according to a report Wednesday.
Christmas-tree bound holiday packages have in some cases been sitting in distribution centers — including in the Chicago area — since the first week of Dec. 9, irking gift givers, according to NBC Philadelphia.
“[The problem’s] compounded by the temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, as well as ongoing capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail,” USPS spokesperson Tim Norman told the outlet.
A rep for the postal service union also blamed the slow-down on 19,000 employees who are currently in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
“You have to understand that we’ve had people exposed to the virus. They’ve had childcare issues or they’re not able to come to work,” said Keith Richardson, president of APWU Local 1 Chicago.
But some folks who sent holiday packages nearly a month ago say they still haven’t been delivered. “I try hard to make stuff and prepare [gifts] — this year is kind of lame,” said Joe Delgado, a Chicago-area student who sent a yet-to-be-delivered gift back in November.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many packages were delayed or what areas of the country were hardest hit.
Earlier this month, the US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS also saw their on-time delivery rates drop — with only 88 percent of packages delivered on time — due to record-breaking online shopping.