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matthew
07th April 2021

Coronavirus: Postal Services Information and Updates

Information about the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to postal services in Northern Ireland, including the latest information about Post Office branches, Royal Mail, DPD, Yodel, Hermes, DHL and UPS.

The information on this page was last updated on 30 March 2021.

Winter postal deliveries

Our new factsheet outlines what you can expect and what you can do about sending and receiving post this winter. Download it using the link below. 

Parcel Deliveries during COVID-19: What you need to know

Post Office branches

The vast majority of Post Offices in Northern Ireland remain open for business. 

Post Office Limited will follow government guidelines to ensure customers and staff are safe.  Any decisions to close individual branches will be taken on a case by case basis.

Temporary Closures

Post Offices that are closed will have a notice displayed telling you where nearby branches are located.

You can check where your nearest post office is located and opening hours on the branch finder.

Post Office Card Account

The Post Office continues to provide Post Office Card Account (POCA) services

If you are concerned about going into your post office you can nominate someone to use your card. You will need to complete a form. More information is available on the Post Office website.

Be aware of potential scams. Never share your post office card and pin number with anyone. Please see section on avoiding scams for details on how to report suspicious behaviour.

The Department for Communities has put additional support in place to assist Post Office card account and HM Government Payment Exception Service customers who are unable to access their benefit or pension payments during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

A single point of contact has been established within the Department’s ‘Make the Call’ team to receive referrals from the NI COVID19 Helpline or Post Office Ltd for immediate action.

The Department will offer a range of options including:

  • Switching customers to a bank account to allow the purchase of items over the phone or on line,
     
  • Setting up a permanent agent or appointee to collect their money on their behalf, or
     
  • Issuing a voucher payment via SMS/email to a trusted friend to collect their money for them.

The Make the Call team can be contacted by emailing makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk or phoning 0800 232 1271.

The COVID-19 Community Helpline can be contacted by 0808 802 0020.

Information on how Post Office Services are running during Covid-19 can be found on the coronavirus help and support section of the webpage.

Social distancing and deliveries

To ensure the health and safety of yourself and delivery drivers, parcel operators should knock on you door, leave the parcel on the doorstep and then stand back to maintain social distance. If a signature is needed, the delivery driver should ask for your name and then record this on the handheld device.

Couriers and Parcel Delivery (eg Royal Mail and Hermes)

Information about any changes to delivery services by DHL, DPD, Hermes, Royal Mail, UPS and Yodel.

Amazon

Can I place an order? Will Amazon deliver my parcel?
Yes, Amazon continues to serve customers. You can check the current delivery times at order checkout or via Your Orders in your account. When selecting a delivery address, be aware that companies and businesses may be closed and unable to receive parcels.

Are delivery times affected?
As the Coronavirus has spread, Amazon has seen an increase in people shopping online. As a result, estimated delivery times for some items may be longer than usual at the moment. You can find updated delivery times on the product detail page.

Is it possible to return items?
Yes, you can continue to return items. To start a return, go to Your Orders and select "Return or Replace Item".

Is it possible to reduce contact with the driver when they deliver my order?
Yes. Amazon’s delivery associates and partners have been advised to reduce contact with customers, this may include placing packages at the customer’s doorstep and stepping back. If an ID check is required, the driver will complete the check at a distance. You can also choose a safe place location where the driver can leave your package if you can’t answer the door.

Drivers are asked to follow your delivery preference where possible. You are able to set your delivery preference during checkout on the Review your order screen by clicking on Add delivery instructions and selecting your desired safe place option.

In order to protect customers and their neighbours, Amazon will only deliver parcels to neighbours when asked to do so by their customers. Please ask your chosen neighbour to confirm they are comfortable accepting parcels on your behalf before asking Amazon to deliver to your neighbour. Amazon will be unable to deliver to your neighbour in cases of local, or national, lockdown.

Are Amazon Pickup locations available for delivery?
Yes, Amazon are working with location partners to ensure that where possible Amazon Hub Locker and Counter locations remain available.

If the Locker or Counter location you chose for delivery closes unexpectedly, Amazon Customer Service team will reach out to redirect your parcel to a home address or cancel your order for a refund. If your preferred location is temporarily unavailable, you can search for available locations here.

The latest information is available on the Amazon website.

CollectPlus (Delivered by Yodel)

CollectPlus Points
Some CollectPlus Points are temporarily closed or may not be operating as normal. You can check where your nearest CollectPlus is located and opening hours here.

CollectPlus are processing parcels as normal.

The latest information is available on the CollectPlus website.

DHL

Temporary DHL Service Point closures
In line with the most recent Government guidance, some DHL Service Points have closed until further notice.

Visiting a DHL Service Point
Please always check DHL store locator for current service availability, noting that opening hours can change at very short notice as stores respond to local conditions.

DHL recommend that you complete your parcel details online before you visit a DHL Service Point to save time in store. Some stores won’t accept parcels if the parcel details haven’t been completed online.

All DHL Service Points at DHL Express sites in Northern Ireland are open Monday - Friday, but are only taking card payments at this time.

DHL Service Updates
Whenever DHL are aware of a potential interruption to your deliveries, they post live service updates here with as much detail as possible, so you can be well-informed on the arrival of your parcel.

Booking a Parcel Collection
If you would like to have your parcel collected from your home or office, we recommend using our online booking service DHLitNow.

Please note: If you are self-isolating due to COVID-19 related requirements (you have tested positive, are awaiting a test result, or have been instructed to self-isolate), we regret that we are not able to collect shipments from you.

International Service Adjustments
The situation is dynamic, international adjustments arising from the COVID-19 pandemic situation can be found on the temporary service adjustments.

Doorstep parcel deliveries
DHL’s Accepted at Delivery Point service is now its standard offering. DHL will knock or ring the bell and will then step away to a safe distance. The driver will ask for their name, record ‘Accepted at Delivery Point’ and then take a photo of the premises.

Unable to come to the door to accept delivery
If you are unable to come to the door, a card will be left advising of alternative delivery options. A friend or family member can collect the parcel from either the local DHL Parcel UK depot or ServicePoint. They will need the card, and ID for themselves and the person they are collecting on behalf of.

What are the delivery days and times?
We deliver from Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The daily delivery times may differ depending on the size of the parcel and the delivery address.

The latest information is available from the DHL website.

DPD

Service Disruption
DPD’s operations continue, check your Postcode area to check if parcel delivery services in your area have been affected.

DPD will no longer ask customers to sign its handheld units
Instead DPD will take a photo of the parcel at the point of delivery. For those self-isolating or unable to open their door to receive parcels, consumers can select their delivery preferences on the DPD app or leave a note on the front door DPD where to leave the parcel.

Self-isolating and expecting a DPD delivery?
Simply leave a signed note, attached to your front door, instructing the driver where your parcel should be left. He will take a photo of the signed note, along with a photo of where he has left your parcel as proof of delivery.

Service Updates
Check out the latest nation and international service updates on DPD Service Updates.

The latest information is available from the DPD website.

Hermes

Safe Place for deliveries
Hermes are encouraging all of their customers to choose their preferred safe place for deliveries. If you have a tracking number for your parcel, you can go to the tracking section, choose ‘divert’ and select a safe place. This can also be done in the MyPlaces settings on the Hermes app.

If a safe place hasn't been chosen but there is somewhere safe to deliver the parcel, then couriers will leave it there, even when there is someone in the property. A photo will be taken and this will be included in the delivery notification email.

If there is no safe place available, please be assured that Hermes will always attempt delivery a total of three times before returning the parcel to the sender.

Parcels Requiring a Signature
For parcels requiring a signature, our couriers can temporarily do this on behalf of the customer to avoid unnecessary contact via hand-held devices. This will only happen when the customer opens the door and gives their name for security reasons. The courier will stay at least two steps away.

The latest information is available on the Hermes website.

Parcelforce

Service Updates
Parcelforce is still experiencing unprecedented volumes. More information on delays and service updates can be viewed on Parcelforce service updates.

Suspensions of UK and international service guarantees
Parcelforce’s delivery service guarantees on their express9 and express10 services are still suspended. However, we are continuing to make every effort to deliver these during the morning.

Parcelforce delivery service guarantees on all our international services continue to be suspended.

Large Services
Express24large is currently suspended.

Covid 19 Test Kits
From 27 October 2020 Parcelforce Worldwide will not accept used/completed Covid-19 test kits. Please see our updated Prohibitions and Restrictions.

Please note that unused Covid-19 test kits can be sent through Parcelforce Worldwide.

Customer collection updates
Parcelforce have suspended same-day ad-hoc collections.

If your business is currently closed and you have a scheduled collection please inform your collecting depot so they can suspend your collection accordingly.

Signing for and receiving item
Parcelforce will not be handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture electronic signatures.  Having initially knocked on your door the driver will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside. Our drivers will log the first and last name of the person accepting the item on their devices, then put 'XP1' in the signature field, and we will record the geolocation of the delivery.  This will apply to all deliveries that normally require a signature.

International Service Update
Parcelforce are still processing your international parcels. In the majority of cases their services are continuing as normal.  Details of any country suspensions and the latest updates are available at parcelforce.com/service-updates.

The latest information is available on the Parcelforce website.

Royal Mail

Service Updates
Royal Mail’s operations continue. However, due to the exceptional high mail volumes some customers may experience a delay. Please see Royal Mail’s service updates for the latest service news.

You can also sign up to receive emails in the event of service disruption in your area.

International Service Update
Royal Mail’s service is operating normally. Royal Mail are working with airline and postal/courier partners to maintain services over borders and across the globe, however delays should be expected. The number of countries Royal Mail can access is changing daily.

Royal Mail strongly advise not to send items to destinations listed as ‘On suspension’.

Customers should check Royal Mail’s International Incident Bulletin for regular updates.

Changes to Special Delivery Guaranteed
From Thursday 24 December 2020 Royal Mail have reinstated their temporary timed guarantees for their Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am and 1pm services.

  • For items posted from Thursday 24 December 2020 onwards, guaranteed delivery for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am the next working day will be by 11.00am the next working day*
  • Guaranteed delivery for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm the next working day will be by 4.00pm the next working day*.
  • This includes items where a Saturday guarantee has been purchased.

Keep up-to-date with Royal Mail daily collection and delivery service updates.

Consumers can stay up to date and manage their deliveries through the Royal Mail app.

Delivery Offices – Further Change in Opening Hours
From 3 January 2021, the opening hours of our Customer Service Points in our local delivery offices changed.

Find your local Delivery Office opening hours here or on the Royal Mail app.

As a reminder, we can also redeliver your item(s) for free. Schedule your redelivery here.#

Temporary change to postal arrangements on Saturdays
From Saturday 13 June 2020 this temporary change came to an end and we resumed Saturday deliveries for letter products.

Return to regular retention periods in Customer Service Points
From Tuesday 1 September 2020 the retention period reverted to the standard 18 calendar days (21 calendar days for Custom charges).

This applies to the following:

  • Items we’ve left a ‘Something for You’ card
  • Items that have a ‘Surcharge to Pay’
  • Items that have a ‘Customs Charge to Pay’
  • Local Collect items where the parcel is addressed to the Customer Service Point or Post Office® branch

Signing for and receiving items
Royal Mail are minimising contact during delivery. Royal Mail will not be handing over hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead log the name of the person accepting the item.

Additionally, for all customers where Royal Mail need to deliver any item that won’t fit through your letterbox, Royal Mail will place your item at your door. Having knocked on your door, Royal Mail will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item.

Delivering to care homes
The Government has introduced measures to protect the most vulnerable groups, including those in residential care. These include limiting all but essential access to care homes for external contractors.

Royal Mail recognise that post is important to the elderly, particularly those away from their friends and families in care homes. Royal Mail have been delivering to a central point (e.g. reception) rather than individual addresses within care homes since March 2020.

Unable to come to the door to accept delivery
If you are unable to come to the door Royal Mail will issue a ‘Something for You’ card, advising of other ways you can arrange to get your item.

For example, by getting a friend or family member to collect the parcel from a local Royal Mail Customer Service Point.

They will need to bring along the card Royal Mail left you and a form of ID in the name of the person the item is addressed to. Full information on acceptable forms of ID can be found here.

Keepsafe Service
Royal Mail has introduced a 100 day keepsafe service to help small businesses. More information is available on Royal Mail Keepsafe.

Business Redirection and Diversion refund
Business that have taken out a redirection or diversion service after 16 March 2020 and return to their usual premises before the service expires will get a refund for any remaining time. More information is available on Royal Mail moving business premises.

The latest information is available from the Royal Mail website.

UPS

UPS continues to operate a regular service
UPS are currently operating Monday – Friday. Current circumstances may cause some delays in transit. For the latest status of your shipment UPS encourage you to use shipment tracking.

UPS Access Points
Please note that where non-essential retail locations remain closed, shipments to UPS Access Point locations could be impacted. Some UPS Access points are closing or adjusting their operations due to COVID-19. To check to see if your local branch is being affect, please find the nearest available UPS Access Point location by using the UPS Global Locator.

Parcels Requiring a Signature
Driver can temporary do this on behalf of the customer to avoid unnecessary contact via hand-help devices. UPS kindly request customers to open the door, accept the parcel and state their name for security purposes.

Suspension of Money Back Guarantee
Effective 26 March 2020 and until further notice, the UPS Service Guarantee (also referred to as the UPS Money Back Guarantee) has been suspended.

Service Disruption
If there is an active service disruption, it will appear on UPS Service Alerts.

The latest information is available on the UPS website.

Yodel

Parcel that do not require a signature
For all parcels that do not require a signature and can be left in a safe place, the current safe place policy will be adhered to. Our drivers and couriers are not required to knock on a customer's door if a card has been left for the customer.

If a customer has used our Inflight 'Manage my Parcel' feature to request a safe place, the process above will be followed.

Proof of delivery required
If no safe place is available or a signature of Proof of Delivery is required, Yodel drivers and couriers will place the parcel on the customer's doorstep, ring or knock on the customer's door and then where safe to do so, retreat two metres away from the door. When the customer answers the door, they will explain that they are making a delivery and ask the customer for confirmation of their surname.

Yodel have created a new dropdown option “Delivered, Handed to Customer”. This will be selected so customers will not need to come into contact with our driver or their device

If the customer does not answer the door, Yodel will attempt to deliver to a neighbour. Yodel will follow the standard Deliver to Neighbour delivery process however Yodel will not ask for the neighbour's name but will select the “COVID-19 scan”

Local Depot Reception
For the foreseeable future, all of our local depot reception areas will be closed to the public. If a customer wishes to collect their parcel from their local depot, they will be directed to a mobile number on a notice posted on the reception entrance door and asked to return to their vehicle. The service centre will then arrange for a colleague to bring the parcel out to the customer's car.

International Outbound Service
odel International outbound service continues to operate; however, Yodel are seeing some delays with countries which have restrictions in place, Yodel are continuing to work alongside our partners and will update if and when the situation changes.

Missed three delivery attempts?
If you have missed three delivery attempts and now need to collect your parcel from your local depot please get in touch with our Customer Service team via Webchat

The latest information is available on the Yodel website.