New Jersey lawmakers call for more protections for postal workers during pandemic
New Jersey lawmakers are calling for more protections for United States postal works after at least 40 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the people to bring this to the attention of Sen. Cory Booker is the head of a senior living facility in Basking Ridge who says he is worried about his residents contracting the illness.
“I don’t want the mail carriers to come in if they have something, touch everything, touch the mail, touch the mailboxes, touch everything on the mailboxes and potentially spread the disease to our vulnerable residents,” says Fellowship Senior Living CEO and president Brian Lawrence.
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Lawrence says that he is furious that the mail carriers refuse to comply with his facility’s required protocols. He says that they were put into place to protect more than 400 senior residents.
“It’s a 30-second process. You answer the questions, you get the temperature, check and move onto your business and it wouldn’t slow down anyone,” Lawrence says.
Lawrence reached out to Booker, who has now joined forces with other local lawmakers to write a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan. In the letter, the lawmakers state that they have heard from multiple postal service employees who were forced to work until they had a doctor’s note confirming that they had contracted coronavirus. They said that it took days due to testing challenges. The mail carriers were also not provided with hand sanitizer, masks or gloves, even though they say that they rarely have time to wash their hands.
“Any failure of the USPS to keep its works safe not only puts their employees at risk, but also threatens each of the communities they serve,” the letter states.
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Lawrence says that he hopes the lawmakers’ efforts will force the USPS to require mail carriers to undergo a temperature check and survey before entering his senior living facility.
“What reasonable person wouldn’t be happy with it to save lives? I just don’t understand,” he says.
Lawmakers have asked the postmaster general to reply by March 30. News 12 New Jersey reached out to the USPS for comment, but did not hear back.