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Postal Service says it won't enforce mask mandate

By Stephen Betts | Dec 01, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts

The U.S. Postal Service acknowledged Dec. 1 that it will not enforce a state mandate that face coverings must be worn inside public places.

The Courier-Gazette asked for the agency's policy after being told the Post Office in Rockland will not deny service to customers who refuse to wear masks.

"We encourage all of our employees to follow the guidelines laid out by the CDC and state and local health officials as they pertain to wearing masks," said an email statement Dec. 1 from Stephen Doherty, the strategic communications specialist for the U.S. Postal Service's northeast region.

"In addition, we have modified our lobby operations, adding sneeze guards, signs that request the use of customer face coverings, and a combination of signs and physical cues to define social distancing. We have also made some changes to our delivery functions, notably to doorstep collections or deposits of packages and signature captures to decrease close contact.

"We appreciate the vigilance of our employees who work to protect our co-workers and our communities to the best of our ability. We appreciate our many customers who share that attentiveness to our well-being," the statement continued.

"Postal employees serve the mailing and shipping needs of our local customers. We do not take on the role of enforcing local ordinances," he concluded.

The death toll from COVID-19 across the U.S. stands at 268,000 as of Dec. 1, according to John Hopkins University. There have been 214 deaths in Maine with 709 people hospitalized.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said wearing a proper face covering, physical distancing and washing hands are the best ways to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

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Comments (11)
Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Dec 02, 2020 15:13

wearing a mask is "a loving" thing to do. You don't know if someone has a weakened immune system or if they just had chemo, or if they have a weakened heart so have a pacemaker, etc. etc.

or for that matter if you have the start of the virus about to launch full scale the day after tomorrow? Why risk it? Be kind. Be thoughtful. Friend in South Carolina just emailed and said his cousin, wife and child all had bad cases of the virus!

This isn't a game. Wearing a mask is a choice to be loving towards our "neighbors." in this small city.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 02, 2020 12:00
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 02, 2020 11:43

The time for game playing is over. Other than masked walking am staying in until at least the first of the year.  With 50% being Trump supporters who see this as a fairy tale there is no other healthy choice.

White House warns COVID-19 cases at dire levels, says patient care could be compromised | TheHill

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 02, 2020 10:31

A clerk should be able to refuse to wait on an unmasked customer. These workers are faced with the chance of being infected all day long. Ignorant people need to be told to leave. The post office enforces all kinds of rules so they should enforce this one. People become irresponsible because they are allowed to be.

Posted by: George Terrien | Dec 02, 2020 10:26

Why would anyone, and citizen, any political persuasion, want to expose those who serve us in the Post Office to unnecessary risk/  Why?  On..., yeah, for a minute, I forgot.  Republicans (many, if not most, if not...) seem to have wanted to kill the U.S. Mail.  So. like a bad tattoo, mistakes live on.  I for one would support Rockland's Postmaster imposing an absolute ban on service from anyone without a mask or valid medical excuse.  Period.  We want our stamps to take a licking and the office to keep on ticking, as they say.  I do hope that the message from James Mays' posting comes true.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Dec 02, 2020 09:42

Post a mask no exception requirement notice, both outside and inside a facility. Have anyone not complying trespassed for 6 months.

Posted by: Maureen Spencer | Dec 02, 2020 09:26

All people have to wear masks or Covid-19 will never be controlled. If you chose not to wear one YOU could be responsible for someone’s death. This is not a joke people.


Posted by: James Mays | Dec 02, 2020 09:10

As we all know USPS is part of the US Government. The White House can certainly require face masks and I am confident that on January 20 new rules will be put into place. 271 thousand Covid deaths in the US as of now. How many more will the post office be responsible for?


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 02, 2020 08:59

The old expression states: " you can leed a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".  If irresponsible members of our society (of which there are many) wish to ignore policy's set to protect themselves and others it is NOT the Post office's duty to enforce the regulations.  Just as it is NOT up to the restaurant owner to evict a customer for not wearing.  It's a harsh world we live in and the individual must act as their own mask police and Not place that respnsibility on others.

Posted by: Louise Neer | Dec 01, 2020 19:37

Not enforcing the mask mandate is placing all other customers at risk of exposure to Covid-19 virus.  It's very disrespectful of all the customers who must come inside to take care of business.  I was there yesterday when there was a customer without a face covering and felt very uncomfortable being around.  He told the clerk he 'forgot it'  and was told 'that's okay'.

It's not okay to put others at risk.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Dec 01, 2020 18:14

I am glad to see our regular letter carrier always wears a mask. Thank you!

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