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UPS & postal service brace for historic holiday shipping season

Officials advise you to ship packages ASAP ahead of expected surge
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 1:32 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2020 at 6:10 PM CST
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DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - USPS offices & UPS stores in Dane County are bracing for a holiday season of shipping and deliveries unlike any other.

Owner of the UPS store in Fitchburg, Melissa Ross, says rates of package shipping have skyrocketed due to the pandemic. “People that have never done online shopping before are now doing it just because of convenience for themselves and with the virus going on.”

Now, her store is preparing to add the holiday rush on top that. “We’re anticipating this holiday season to be pretty crazy,” says Ross.

For customers, that means it’s already time to start thinking about sending those holiday gifts. “Shipping deadlines are going to be coming quicker and deliveries could potentially be delayed just because of everything going on. So we do recommend people to get in here sooner than later,” says Ross.

There’s a similar message coming from US Postal Service Offices in Madison. “The Postal Service recommends that everyone should mail early and get ahead of the crowd,” says Bob Sheehan, the Customer Relations Coordinator & Communications Specialist at USPS Lakeland District.

“Normally we do approximately 45,000 packages a day here in Madison and we’re expecting that, as the increase starts to happen here for the holidays, up to 80,000 packages a day. With a peak at 95,000 packages a day,” says Sheehan.

The same goes for the weekly 1,000,000 cards and letters they deliver. “That should go up to 1.5 million. To an increase of 2.3 million during the week as we get closer to the holidays.”

Both UPS and USPS are hiring on additional seasonal staff this year to help accommodate the influx of parcels. “Typically we double what we do normally for the month of December. But we’re anticipating even more,” says Ross.

Ross and Sheehan emphasize the need to remember that there are shipping deadlines for packages to arrive at their destination by Christmas Day.

For UPS, “December 15th is the cut-off for UPS Ground to ensure any packages get there before the holiday,” says Ross.

Others for USPS follow, “The 18th is the deadline for first class shipping. The 19th for priority mail shipping. And the 23rd for overnight express,” says Sheehan.

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