Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms often include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Our understanding of how the virus spreads is evolving as we learn more about it, so check the CDC website for the latest information. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Recent studies show that the virus can be spread by people before they develop symptoms or who never develop symptoms. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at regular temperatures.
Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
As a mail and parcel delivery driver (such as for Amazon, DHS, FedEx, Purolater, UPS, USPS), how can I protect myself and others?
As a mail and parcel delivery driver, potential sources of exposure include having close contact with co-workers or delivery recipients, or when you touch surfaces touched or handled by a person who has COVID-19.
Stay home if you are sick
- If you develop a fever or symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice before visiting their office.
- You should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, after talking with your doctor.
Wear a cloth face covering
- CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to do, especially in areas that have high rates of COVID infection.
- Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
- These face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators and are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where masks or respirators are recommended or required.
- Practice “contactless” deliveries whenever you can. Contactless deliveries allow you to leave a delivery at a doorstep, move back to a distance greater than 6 feet away while verifying receipt of the delivery with the recipient (if required), and try to do everything electronically whenever you can (e.g., in an app or over a phone). This eliminates the need for close contact between you and delivery recipient.
- Maintain a distance 6 feet or greater from others you might meet or need to speak to while making your deliveries.
- Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces during deliveries, such as doorbells or door handles. Use a foot, shoulder, elbow, hip, or forearm when opening doors, instead of hands, if possible.
- Avoid sharing scanners, pens, or other tools with customers.
- If you are wearing machine-washable work gloves normally worn for the job throughout your shift, do not touch your face with gloved hands. Remove them and wash hands before eating. At the end of the work shift, remove the gloves, store them for washing, and wash your hands. When doing laundry, wash gloves using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry them completely.
Clean and Disinfect
- If surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Carry cleaning and disinfectant disposable wipes, if available, and a trash bag with you in your vehicle. Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces of the delivery vehicle (particularly if it is shared) at the start and end of the shift. These include the steering wheel, gearshift, signaling levers, and door handles.
- Wipe down pens, clipboards, and electronic signature pads after each use with the public if shared when performing a delivery.
- Appropriate disinfectants for hard non-porous surfaces include:
- EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2external icon
- Diluted household bleach solutions prepared according to the manufacturers label for disinfection, if appropriate for the surface
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Practice Everyday Preventive Actions
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Proper hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Keep in mind where you can access and use facilities with soap and water during your shift. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Key times to clean hands include:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Additional times on the job to clean hands include:
- Before and after work shifts
- Before and after work breaks
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
- Before and after making deliveries, including after picking up from drop-boxes and customer pickups
- After touching frequently touched surfaces, such as doorbells or door handles
- Before wearing and after removing cold-weather gloves
- Before and after pumping gas
- Carry tissues in your vehicle to use when you cough, sneeze, or touch your face. Throw used tissues in the trash.
What steps should my employer take?
Mail and parcel delivery employers should develop a COVID-19 response plan to protect employees, following CDC business guidance. This plan should be shared with you and your coworkers. Your employer should consider the following guidance:
- Provide information on who to contact if you become sick.
- Take steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if an employee is sick
- Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. Consider drafting non-punitive emergency sick leave policies if sick leave is not offered to some or all employees.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Sick employees shouldn’t return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, maintain their confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Develop policies and technology options that allow and encourage contactless deliveries such as no-knock and no-signature. These options limit contact, provide space, and avoid the sharing of items such as pens and electronic signature pads between drivers and individuals at the delivery destinations.
- Designate someone to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns and ensure employees know who this person is and how to contact them.
- Provide employees with the most current information from the CDC about COVID-19, how it spreads, and risk of exposure.
- Provide employees with training on proper hand hygiene practices and other routine infection control precautions. This will help reduce the spread of many diseases, including COVID-19.
- Show employees where they can access soap, clean running water, and drying materials, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol; adjust delivery schedules to build in time for frequent hand washing.
- Provide disposable disinfecting wipes or suitable alternatives so that commonly touched surfaces can be wiped down by employees. Provide employees training on manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Provide tissues and no-touch trash options for the delivery truck.
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and good hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Reach out to local public health officials to establish ongoing communications to facilitate access to relevant information before and during a local outbreak.
- Where available, engage employee representatives and unions regarding company COVID-19 response plans to protect employees.
- Follow all applicable federal worker safety and health regulations and public health agency guidelines.