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The workings of the United States Post Office has been the subject of concern as the 2020 election ballots are about to hit the mail. Concerns have mounted over possible delays. A quick visit to the Salida Post Office on Sept. 16 was all that was needed to see that the volume of mailing packages and envelopes has picked up in the city. Upon arrival, six people were waiting in line in the lobby to send packages, buy stamps, and send letters.

COVID-19 masked patron in the lobby of Salida, CO Post Office at 310 D Street.  While lobby activity varies by time-of-day, according to post office staff, overall mail activity levels appear to have risen since this was taken on May 22, 2020. Photo by Merrell Bergin

The crowd was somewhat irritable, one woman without a mask simply holding her shirt over her face. When asked how things have changed since COVID-19 the man behind the counter explained it got busy, and it’s only gotten busier.

According to that USPS staffer, people are definitely sending and receiving things from all over the country since there is an inability to visit in person.  In case this might seem as a momentary surge, consider the following:

Yesterday, another AVV staffer got a lucky break when entering; one person being waited on, another writing out an envelope.  One employee was out front stocking the bins with mailing supplies.  All parties were masked and polite.  Unofficial conversation excerpts overheard while the observer-patron was filling out a receipt:

Customer: “So are you all busier now with all the coronavirus?”

Clerk: “..For sure.  Package volume has like doubled; used to be 500 a day now 1,000 or more.”

Customer: “So has your office hired a bunch of new people to handle it?”

Clerk: “No, we just work harder.”

Editor’s note: Readers, your experiences at United States Post Offices through the region, are welcomed by posting a comment to this story.