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Mar 21, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Only visit the post office if it's absolutely necessary

National Media and Infocommunications Authority: Only visit the post office if it's absolutely necessary.

The coronavirus is also taking its toll on postal services.

The recommendation of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority is that those who can should transfer money online instead of paying bills at the post office, should write e-mail messages instead of sending conventional mail, should check out webstores before placing an order and should track consignments on their websites.

The coronavirus spreads via droplet infection; however, touching objects can also convey risks. As a result, the epidemic is now also affecting postal services. The collection and delivery on business days of official documents, postal consignments weighing less than two kilos, parcels weighing less than twenty kilos and consignments featuring Braille writing as well as registered mail, recorded delivery and declared value services qualify as universal postal services. The authority is not aware of a major slowing down in domestic postal services; however, in international postal services there are disruptions. Air traffic is limited, flights are being cancelled, and consignments to some countries are either not being forwarded or are being forwarded at significant delays.

The authority advises the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases not to visit the post office at all. However, wherever possible, younger customers, too, should delay their postal administration. In extreme cases, postal consignments could even be quarantined in the interest of protecting the health of postal workers or addressees. Wherever possible, electronic correspondence and communication should be favoured over administration in person. For the settlement of utility bills, it is desirable to transfer the billed amount instead of paying the bill at a post office.

If absolutely necessary, however, it is reasonable to take care of all postal affairs as part of a single visit by collecting payables, to use the bill payment machines in post offices, and to deposit ordinary letters – stamped or otherwise ready for mailing – in post-boxes made available for posting letters. If there is more than one customer waiting for a single postal administrator to take care of their postal business, other customers are required to queue outside the building, keeping a distance of one metre from one another. Upon taking delivery of consignments, direct contact with postal delivery personnel should be avoided. If deliveries must be signed for, addressees are advised to put on gloves and to use their own pens.

Before sending parcels or ordering online, consumers should inform themselves about the latest terms and conditions from the selected service provider as parcel delivery is typically conducted not as part of universal postal services but via market-based service providers, and the latter are free to decide on the operation, possible restriction or suspension of their services within the regulatory boundaries in force.

Due to an overload on the system, there could be prolonged delivery times. Consumers should order from webstores which have appropriate disinfection protocols in place and which provide information on the expected delivery time. Wherever possible, consumers should choose the tracking delivery mode which allows them to track the progress of their orders on the websites of both the delivery company and the webstore.

An addressee in quarantine is required to authorise a representative or another person entitled to take delivery of consignments who is able to take delivery consignments at the gate of the building or outside the door of the addressee’s home as postal delivery personnel are not allowed to enter quarantined premises or to come into contact with people quarantined.

A call center set up for advice on the coronavirus can be reached on +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456 or by email under koronavirus@bm.gov.hu