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 20 January 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.
Post Offices that are closed will have a notice displayed telling you where nearby branches are located.
To check where your nearest post office is located and opening hours see www.postoffice.co.uk/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 at www.postoffice.co.uk/post-office-card-account.
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 email@example.com or phoning 0800 232 1271.
The COVID-19 Community Helpline can be contacted by 0808 802 0020.
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.
Visit Amazon's website for the latest information.
CollectPlus is still operating. It has social distancing protocols in its CollectPlus Points to help to protect consumers and staff.
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 at www.collectplus.co.uk
CollectPlus' customer service telephone lines will be closed for the foreseeable future. Visit the link below for information o contacting CollectPlus.
For the latest information from Collect Plus visit www.collectplus.co.uk
Whenever DHL are aware of a potential interruption to your deliveries, they post an update here with as much detail as possible, so you can be well-informed on the arrival of your parcel.
To protect its staff and consumers DHL has implemented the following steps:
- 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 a consumer is 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.
DHL deliver from Monday - Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The precise delivery times may differ and depend on the size of the parcel and the delivery address
DPD’s operations continue. To protect its staff and consumers DPD has implemented the following steps:
- 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.
- Please note that there may be increased surcharge rates due to the reduction of airline travel. For more information see www.dpd.co.uk.
The latest information is available from www.dpd.co.uk.
Hermes operations continue. To protect its staff and consumers Hermes has implemented the following steps:
- Asking its customers to choose a safe place for delivery.
- If a safe place hasn't been chosen but there is somewhere safe to deliver the parcel, Hermes will leave it there. A photo will be taken and this will be included in the delivery notification email.
- For parcels requiring a signature, Hermes couriers will sign 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.
- If there is no safe place available, delivery will be attempt 3 times.
To find out more information, click here to visit Hermes website.
Parcelforce is still experiencing unprecedented volumes. More information on delays and service updates can be viewed on the Parcelforce website.
Please note these last posting dates are a guide only and are subject to change. Please check here for the latest information.
For the latest information from Parcelforce visit www.parcelforce.com/coronavirus.
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 further information.
International Mail – 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 we 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 updates.
Find out further updates on COVID-19 on Royal Mail's website.
Changes to Special Delivery Guaranteed
From Thursday 24 December 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.
Royal Mail has implemented the following steps:
- All doorstep parcel deliveries. For parcels that won’t fit through your letterbox, Royal Mail will knock your door and step aside to a safe distance while you get your item.
- 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.
- Deliveries that require a signature. Royal Mail staff will not hand over the devices to capture customer signatures. Instead Royal Mail staff will log the name of the person accepting the item. This will apply to all deliveries that require a signature.
- Collecting items or arranging redelivery. From Tuesday 1 September 2020 the retention period will revert to the standard 18 calendar days (21 calendar days for Custom charges) This will apply to a ‘Something for You’ card, a ‘Surcharge to Pay’ card, a ‘Customs Charge to Pay’ and Local Collect items where the parcel is addressed to the Customer Service Point.
- Delivery to care homes. Royal Mail is making arrangements to deliver to a central point (e.g. reception) rather than individual addresses within care homes from 19th March. These changes will help to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable in society.
Consumers can stay up to date and manage their deliveries the Royal Mail app.
Customer Service Points. From 3 January 2021, the opening hours of Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points in local delivery offices have changed. Find your local Delivery Office opening hours here or on the Royal Mail app. As a reminder, Royal Mail can also redeliver your item(s) for free. Schedule your redelivery here.
- Customer Service Centres. From 27th June 2020, there will be an increase in the opening hours on Saturdays. Customer Service Points will continue to be open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday along with Saturday. All will be closed on Wednesday and Sunday. Find your local Customer Service Point opening hours here or on the Royal Mail app.
- Keepsafe service. Royal Mail has introduced a 100 day keepsafe service to help small businesses. More information is available at www.royalmail.com/receiving/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 at www.royalmail.com/business/manage-mail/redirection-diversion.
Despite current challenges, limitation do not apply to the movement of goods and 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.
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.
Effective 26 March 2020 and until further notice, the UPS Service Guarantee (also referred to as the UPS Money Back Guarantee) has been suspended.
The latest information is available at www.ups.com/gb/en/about/news/important-updates.
Yodel’s operations continue. To protect its staff and consumers Yodel has implemented the following steps:
- Doorstep parcel deliveries. All parcels which do not require a Proof of Delivery and, where possible, will be left in a safe place. If no safe place is available or a Proof of Delivery is required, Yodel will ring or knock on the door and move 2 meters away from the door. Where the customer answers the door, they will explain that they are making a delivery and ask the customer for confirmation of their surname. Yodel will select “Unable to sign Covid-19” enter the customer’s surname.
- Unable to come to the door to accept delivery. If the customer does not answer the door, Yodel will attempt to deliver to a neighbour, enter the neighbour’s surname into the device and sign it “Covid-19”.
For the latest information from Yodel visit www.yodel.co.uk/news/2020/march/covid-19/