RIVERDALE, Ill. (CBS) — Spotty mail service has people in the south suburbs fired up – and worried about the holiday season.
They are issues that CBS 2’s Tara Molina first investigated months ago. On Tuesday, she learned that COVID-19 outbreaks inside postal offices could be to blame for these new delays.
In south suburban Riverdale, sometimes the mail comes every few days and sometimes people say they wait weeks.
And with long lines inside the Riverdale Post Office, they say they’re done waiting.
Aquanetta and Jarvis Gutter have been walking the same Riverdale sidewalk for more than 20 years. But recently, they say their mail carrier has not done so.
“We’ve been having a problem with our mail service since about August,” said Aquanetta Gutter.
And she said she is still missing checks, bills, and the special dress she ordered to celebrate her daughter’s engagement.
“I didn’t get the dress,” she said.
With the holidays coming up, she said me she doesn’t trust the U.S. Postal Service with those cards and packages either.
“People look forward to receiving those things,” Aquanetta Gutter said.
That’s why she reached out to us. We have investigated issues like those of the Gutters since July, with people complaining about delayed or missing mail in neighborhoods across Chicago and the city’s surrounding suburbs.
“You’ll go and check at the Post Office and there’s a line that is outrageous, because everyone is checking for their mail,” Aquanetta Gutter said.
So, what’s going on now? Molina asked USPS. She reached spokesman Tim Norman with some of the concerns we’ve heard in just the past few days – not just from Riverdale, but also from places like Rogers Park, Mount Greenwood, and Elk Grove Village. He said COVID-19 cases were a problem at all of those Post Offices:
“The U.S. Postal Service has learned that there are employees at the Post Offices mentioned who tested positive for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We are in the process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide. We believe the risk is low for employees who work at those offices, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.
“As you may know, 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. Therefore, the Postal Service cannot share the names of any employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or further specifics of their medical condition. The safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority.
“For our latest statements regarding COVID-19 visit https://about.usps.com/newsroom/covid-19/.
“We are flexing our available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis. We encourage customers that have a concern with their mail delivery, questions about specific pieces of mail, and/or other service issues to contact their local Postal station or our Consumer Affairs office at (312) 983-8403.”
But Aquanetta Gutter said, “How long does it take if it’s been since August?”
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) also spoke out about this issue after some of our first reports exposed widespread issues. Rush’s office issued a new statement on Tuesday, saying, “The Congressman is aware of the mailing issues that have resurfaced in his district and beyond and is taking the appropriate actions to address them.”
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