We are working extremely hard to ensure that all parcels are sent out in a timely fashion whilst employing strict bio-security. However due to staffing limitations and a reduced postal service we are now only shipping orders once a week, on a Friday.
As a high risk, immune-compromised person myself I have always ensured we maintain very high standards of hygiene but feel it is appropriate at this time to explain the practices we have put in place.
All our stock is stored here on the farm in a self-contained, separate building. Only my daughter and myself are involved in the packing process and we have both been isolating for some weeks now. Before packing commences on any given day all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disposable gloves are worn throughout the packing process. In addition all of our hard back books are wrapped at time of publishing in cellophane - and whilst not particularly environmentally friendly, this is wonderfully protective of the book itself.
Once orders have been packed they are put into large mail sacks which are then sealed with cable ties. The sacks are then left in an empty barn from where the postman collects them. We do not have contact with the postman and he in turn does not have contact with us.
Unfortunately we can no longer guarantee delivery dates or shipping times for parcels due to the constantly changing situation both in the UK and around the world and we are no longer sending out tracked or special delivery packages as these require us to take the parcels to the post office. Tracked delivery also usually requires the recipient to sign for goods on delivery. In the UK recipients are no longer required to sign for tracked packages but this differs from country to country and I would not like to potentially compromise anyone's health by putting them in the position of having to sign for a parcel.
As mentioned above, we will only be sending out parcels once a week on a Friday. This is partly to help with staffing shortages both at Royal Mail and here on the farm, and partly to help with the bio-security on the farm, minimising the number of times someone from off the farm will enter. We are due to commence lambing in just a couple of weeks time and it is essential that we are all as fit and able as possible during this time as we will not be able to call on outside help if any or all of us were to become ill.
All our mail is sent with Royal Mail who have informed business customers that mail is continuing to be delivered as normal but there are now delays both with domestic and international mail.
They also provided a very useful FAQ which I have copied in below:
Frequently Asked Questions received by Royal Mail:
1. Can customers catch coronavirus from the mail?
Public Health England has advised that there is no perceived increase in risk of contracting the new coronavirus for handling post or freight from specified areas. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels.
2. What precautionary actions are you taking to ensure the health and safety of colleagues?
We take the well being of our employees very seriously. In line with guidance from Public Health England, we are advising colleagues that good hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence. Disposable gloves are also available to our people on request.
3. What actions will Royal Mail take in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus with one of our employees?
Should we have a confirmed employee case, we will work with Public Health England who sets out the required actions for the relevant Royal Mail office (if the employee has been in work) and any wider actions relating to people the employee has been in contact with. We have all the systems and processes in place to carry out cleaning of our property, if required.
4. What will happen if one of Royal Mail’s sites has to close because of an outbreak of the virus?
Any decision to close one of our units would be made in line with Public Health England guidance. We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure mail is kept moving. The scale, vast network and business continuity expertise of our organisation mean we have extensive experience in being able to quickly deploy diversion plans so we continue to provide customers with access to our collection and delivery services, and their mail.
I hope the above FAQs are helpful. Additionally unless specifically requested by a customer we will not be sending goods out on a tracked service as this potentially requires the recipient to sign for goods on delivery. In the UK recipients are no longer required to sign for tracked packages but this differs from country to country and I would not like to potentially compromise anyone's health by putting them in the position of having to sign for a parcel.
On a personal level, we are extremely lucky to live in a rural location and not to have to travel on a regular basis; We have strict hygiene rules in all areas of the farm and our home anyway as we live and work around animals, but we have increased these precautions and as a person at risk, I am remaining on the farm for the time being.
I hope this information is both helpful and reassuring and that you remain safe and well.
Thank you so much for your continued patience. Each and every order placed means the world to me.