DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- The city of Denver ordered the USPS processing plant that filters all mail for Colorado and Wyoming to shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility on Wednesday night.
The USPS is fighting back, saying it won't abide by the Denver public health order because it is federally owned and complying with all federal and CDC directives related to COVID-19.
More than 900 mail trucks deliver from Denver's processing facility, serving about 6.3 million people, which is considered the fourth largest in the U.S.
The state of Colorado said five employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility.
A spokesperson told KRDO on Friday that there will be no negative mail flow impact to southern Colorado related to "the rumored closure" of the processing plant in Denver.
The Denver USPS facility estimates it handles about 10 million pieces of mail daily, totaling around 4.5 billion mailed items a year.
In a statement provided to KRDO, USPS explained its reasoning for not shutting down.
"We strongly disagree with the Denver Public Health order, which was made without a visual verification, without advanced coordination with the team of postal employees working on these issues with Denver Public Health, and without the understanding of the Postal Service’s substantial, ongoing efforts to protect its employees and the public.
This closure notice, citing no adverse findings, has the potential to impact stimulus checks, prescription medications, personal correspondence, and vital goods delivered to the more than 6.5 million customers who live in Colorado and Wyoming.
We have provided Denver Public Health the necessary documentation to satisfy their inquiry and are confident the order will be rescinded."
The USPS is designated as an essential function under federal law during the pandemic. The postal service said among other items it ships necessities including medicine, food and other goods deemed critical to the nation's infrastructure.
Below are some of the COVID-19 precautions USPS claims it has adopted at its facilities:
- Required Postal Service employees wear face coverings while at work, when proper social distancing cannot be achieved.
- Requiring Postal Service employees to use face coverings while at work in our retail facilities in local and state jurisdictions that have implemented orders requiring use of face coverings by individuals within those jurisdictions.
- Requesting customers use face coverings while in our retail facilities located in jurisdictions that have implemented orders requiring use of face coverings by individuals within those jurisdictions.
- Reinforcing workplace behaviors to ensure that contact among our employees and with our customers reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions, social distancing, and risk minimization. We have implemented measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing, including through signage, floor tape, and “cough/sneeze” barriers. We have changed delivery procedures to eliminate the requirement that customers sign our Mobile Delivery Devices for delivery. For increased safety, employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door. At the Denver Processing and Distribution Center, social distancing measures are communicated daily and enforced.
- Updated our cleaning policies to ensure that all cleaning occurs in a manner consistent with CDC guidance relating to this pandemic.
- Updated our leave policies to allow liberal use of leave and to therefore give our employees the ability to stay home whenever they feel sick, must provide dependent care, or any other qualifying factor under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We have entered into agreements with our unions to provide 80 hours of paid leave to non-career employees for issues related to COVID-19, and have expanded the definition of sick leave for dependent care for covered employees to deal with the closures of primary and secondary schools across the country.
- Expanded the use of telework for those employees who are able to perform their jobs remotely.
- Issuing a daily cadence of employee talks, articles, videos, and other communications to ensure employees have the latest information and guidance.