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Residents at 2 senior living facilities say they’ve had issues getting mail amid pandemic

Some residents say USPS workers won’t comply with health screening policies & aren’t allowed inside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Residents at two senior living facilities in Jacksonville say they’ve been running into issues getting their mail from workers with the United States Postal Service.

According to some who live at HarborChase in Mandarin and the Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, mail carriers with USPS aren’t dropping off the mail or they’re only leaving it outside the front door. The residents said it’s because the post office workers won’t comply with heath screening procedures to get inside the facilities.

Barbara Ventimiglia, a resident at the Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, said she went days without getting her prescription. She’s been forced to stay home because she is immunocompromised.

Ventimiglia said the mail carrier wouldn’t comply with the screening and that she went three days without mail in March.

“I’ve had several different things impacted. I do order some meals online and they get delivered. I’ve had mail as well as my prescriptions, which were held," she said.

Riverside Presbyterian Apartments released a statement that reads:

“For the safety of our residents, we are restricting entry to Riverside Presbyterian Apartments to only residents and certain essential service providers who must undergo a screening. That includes the postal carrier. Unfortunately, the postal carrier who serves our community has not been willing to undergo this screening. We have attempted to address this issue with the local postmaster and have also discussed this concern with Senator Rubio’s office, without resolving the issue so far. We are very sensitive to residents’ concerns and we have been very careful about sorting their mail and making sure that it is delivered as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, for the safety of all residents, our staff have been left without any other choice but to deliver the mail ourselves.”

“We had four huge bins of mail that our people had to put into mailboxes because the postman wouldn’t do his job," Ventimiglia said.

The post office on Sunbeam Road issued a statement to the facility reading in part: “Our carriers have privacy protection under federal laws like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that may be violated if you prohibit a carrier from delivering based on the results of any medical screening."

Family members of people staying at HarborChase in Mandarin said residents are experiencing the same problem with mail carriers not dropping off mail because they won’t get their temperature taken.

The USPS issued the following statement Thursday:

The safety and well-being of our employees and customers are the Postal Service’s highest priorities. We respect the additional measures some customers, such as senior living center facilities, are taking to protect their employees and residents. And, while we are sensitive to the needs of our customers, our employees are not permitted to submit to temperature readings or medical questionnaires as a condition of effecting delivery, because temperature readings and medical questionnaires are currently considered confidential medical information. Under the Rehabilitation Act and the Privacy Act, specific employee medical information must be kept confidential and may only be shared in very limited circumstances.

In situations like these, the Postal Service is willing to accommodate delivery and has options from which customers may choose. Customers may opt to redirect their mail to a temporary mail receptacle inside or outside the building where screening would not be necessary. Customers can place the mail and parcels on hold for up to 30 days at their Post Office, where it will be available for customer pickup during that period. Or, customers can redirect all mail for their facility or business to an alternate location.

The Postal Service has implemented these measures to protect the health and welfare of our employees and customers, consistent with guidance for businesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Local postal leaders are available and continue to work with any community, in order to make necessary arrangements. The Postal Service continues to provide an essential service and will work with customers to accommodate safe mail delivery.

For the general COVID-19 statement from USPS, click here.


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