myth busting from canalpost
As the market leader in the provision of virtual addresses for canal and river boaters, we are constantly being asked how this dreadful global pandemic will affect the post and, of course, our management of your mail, so we have put together this factsheet based upon your questions.
what is covid 19?
Unlike bacteria, viruses are not 'alive' in the accepted, biological, sense. They are just extraordinarily tiny bundles of organic chemicals and DNA that cannot exist for any length of time outside of a host cell, and have just one purpose... to create copies of themselves. Ironically perhaps, it's our own bodies' immune reaction to this reproductive drive that can make us so ill.
Novel Coronavirus (Covid 19) is a new addition to the existing family of Corona viruses, which also include SARS, MERS, Avian Flu... and even the common cold. This group of viruses are so named because they are surrounded and protected by a corona, or 'crown', of fats. It may help to think of them as being 'greasy'. This protective coating, just like any other oily substance such as butter, lard or diesel fuel, is impervious to water... but add common household soap (which contains chemicals known as 'surfactants') and voilà! Dead naked virus.
where did covid 19 come from?
Please don't be taken in by the plethora of utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories that are feeding on the oxygen of social media. Covid 19 is NOT the result of a global biological attack by the Chinese, Russians or little green men from Mars... and it is absolutely NOT a consequence of 5G or the MMR vaccine! As with many emerging virus, Covid 19 is almost certainly the result of a 'spill over' event, in the same way as the recent Avian Influenza (H5N5) where the virus mutated, purely by chance, and was then able to cross-over into human hosts.
can the virus be caught from a letter or parcel?
In theory, yes. However, the best scientific evidence suggests that Covid 19 can only remain viable for around 24 hours on porous surfaces such as paper or cardboard, before its protective corona is absorbed and the virus 'dies'.
Remember that we always process mail the day AFTER it is delivered to your Mail Centre so, even if you are set to daily forwarding, your letters will have been isolated in the mailroom overnight... even before they are despatched and have spent a day or two in the post!
how else do we protect you?
Each of our mailrooms is located within the residence of the Mail Centre owner, which is one of the factors that makes canalpost virtual addresses unique. It also means that we are able to isolate our operations so much more effectively, keeping our customers and staff safe from contamination.
When your post arrives at any one of our mailrooms, it will have passed through several hands on its progress through the postal system. This is why, for everyone's safety, we have implemented strict protective protocols, including the physical isolation of each Mail Centre premises, scrupulous sanitising of all work surfaces and the wearing of PPE when handling mail.
By far our greatest ally, however, is the clock!
By the time incoming letters or parcels have been processed, stored, despatched... and have then navigated the post on their way to you, any viruses originally present on the contents will have lost their viability.
take your own sensible precautions
Whilst the contents of your forwarded despatch may be safe when you receive them, the tamper-proof postal bag in which your mail is enclosed will have been handled by any number of people involved in its local delivery and, therefore, should be considered as a potential source of infection.
Fortunately, these postal bags are waterproof and impervious to all common sanitising gels, fluids and biocide wipes! For this reason we strongly suggest that you clean the bag on delivery, confident that its contents will not be damaged. :o)
As always, our 'belt and braces' safety advice is that; once you have opened your letters or parcel, dispose of the envelopes or outer packaging carefully, then wash your hands with soap and water!
are there likely to be interruptions to the post?
The Royal Mail and domestic courier firms alike are experiencing increased absenteeism due to illness and have, understandably, introduced restrictive working practices to protect their staff. As a result, some delay in postal transit is inevitable.
The Royal Mail are operating staggered shifts in their main Delivery Offices in order to maintain workplace distancing and have also reduced collections to once a day. Whilst this does not directly affect our Mail Centre operations, it is having a negative impact on the delivery time for 1st Class mail.
To further complicate this situation for boaters, if you collect your forwarded mail from a 'Poste Restante' you may find that some smaller sub-Post Offices (especially those located within retail stores) are either closed, have limited their opening hours... or offer a restricted service.
how long is this disruption likely to last?
I wish we had that crystal ball.
However, knowing how important mail is to you, especially during these uncertain times, we are planning for the long term. If it takes six weeks, six months or even longer for the situation to settle down, canalpost.uk will be here throughout... reacting to the constantly changing health landscape to keep you safely connected and in touch.
the ultimate postal distancing. . . have your mail scanned!
A little over half of our boating customers, and those living full time in motorhomes or caravans, now have their letters scanned so they can read them instantly on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone... and at 50p, it's even cheaper than a stamp
to forward them! As a result, canalpost mailrooms are digitising many hundreds of pages every morning, so if you are worried about privacy, there really is no need... we simply don't have time to read our customer's post! :o)
...and we are still here to help
Thanks to modern technology, our entire Head Office staff (Support, Accounts and Compliance) are now working from home through a VPN and virtual switchboard, so you can still contact canalpost , as normal, on 0333 789 0011 !
please stay safe. . . for yourself, and for the most vulnerable in society!
Canalpost is part of the Expost group of companies, offering virtual addresses in the South West, South Wales, the South East, Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with live telephone support available six days a week. Our customers rate Expost as 'Excellent', with 5 Stars in Trustpilot!