20 March 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Postmasters have assured the public that in the current Covid-19 pandemic Post Offices are remaining open as an essential service to local communities – and measures have been agreed with An Post to prioritise public safety.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union General Secretary Ned O’Hara said: “Social distancing will require Postmasters to limit the number of customers in the premises at any one time.
“The IPU also understands that the Department of Social Protection is working with An Post and will shortly announce new service arrangements to support social distancing.
“Hand sanitisers are being installed in all Post Offices as they become available and health and safety notices on social distancing are being placed in queuing areas.
“Opening hours are being extended and adjusted to suit local requirements and this is being kept under review.
“To reduce risk An Post has made an arrangement for vulnerable people to appoint a Temporary Agent for the collection of payments. Postmasters recognise the need for this measure and will be vigilant and observant of any risk of financial abuse.”
Mr. O’Hara stressed that the appointment of a Temporary Agent to continue collecting payments locally, will help to sustain local economies during the crisis and into the future.
“Where a Postmaster may have to self-isolate, arrangements will be made for payments to temporarily be available in a neighbouring Office.
“Postmasters would like to thank the public for the ongoing high-level of co-operation and support.
“If people have any particular concerns or questions they can phone their local Postmaster who is committed to being flexible and to serving the public, while fully supporting the national effort to minimise social contact,” Mr O’Hara concluded.