Photo Courtesy of Google
The Howard Beach post office, located at 160-50 Cross Bay Blvd.
By Michael V. Cusenza
United States post offices could be forced to shut their doors unless they get an immediate infusion of funds and the personal protective equipment and supplies needed to keep workers and the mail-receiving public safe, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer revealed Sunday.
“Whether it is New York City, the suburbs of Long Island, Staten Island or beyond, the USPS performs a lifeline service for countless Americans and the people of New York that must continue amid and beyond this pandemic,” Schumer said, noting that the agency needs $25 billion. “The fact is the coronavirus has severely crippled USPS operations and their funds. Despite that, they have kept the doors open, the mail—and really the economy—moving, and now they need the help to sustain their pace. The fight to keep our post offices open by injecting the dollars needed to do the job and purchase the personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies required to keep everyone safe will begin tomorrow, and I am here to say: I vow to lead it.”
According to the Associated Press, mail volume is down by more than 30 percent from last year because of the coronavirus, and the Postal Service says losses will increase by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months. Schumer added that the monumental costs of PPE are also driving huge costs for the USPS. Schumer said the USPS will need dollars to purchase the PPE it needs, in addition to funding to offset the aforementioned operational shortfalls delivered by the coronavirus.
“We are unable to predict the duration of COVID-19 business closures and the duration of the recession we are currently experiencing: however, this situation will materially damage our financial condition,” said USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett. “While we continue to conserve capital and reduce expenses in areas where volumes are declining, our ability to continue to serve the nation will require substantial finding from the federal government or other sources.”
The Howard Beach post office on Cross Bay Boulevard and 160th Avenue was rescued from the gallows in the fall of 2017. Though it had been rumored for several months to be on the chopping block, the USPS signed a 10-year lease in 2017 to keep the station up and running.
“I know this post office is an integral part of the community and plays an important role in the quality of life for my constituents,” State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) noted at the time. “The service that the Howard Beach post office provides is important to so many aspects in the lives of our people.”
Schumer pointed out that the USPS is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 160 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, according to the agency.