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Coronavirus information

Sending letters and parcels


Updates to Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide services

Service updates

Post Office is doing everything we can to help our customers and Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide are committed to delivering as comprehensive a service as possible at all times. To help us do this, there are some changes to services due to new social distancing guidelines and significantly higher than normal absence rates due to illness and self-isolation.


Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide are providing normal deliveries, but it’s likely some areas of the country will experience some level of disruption during the pandemic. They are working hard to keep any delays to a minimum. Thank you for your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times.


Public Health England has advised that there is no perceived increase in risk of contracting the coronavirus from handling post or freight. From experience with other coronaviruses, these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters, parcels or identity documents. However, it is sensible to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with anything outside of your home and to avoid touching your face.



Signing for and receiving items


To minimise contact during delivery, Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide colleagues will not be handing over the hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead log the name of the person accepting the item (Parcelforce Worldwide drivers will log the first and last name of the recipient and record the geolocation of delivery).


Where the item being delivered won’t fit through the letterbox, they will place your item at your door. Having knocked on your door, they will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside.


Service changes

Changes to Royal Mail services
Changes to Parcelforce Worldwide services
Sending hand gels/sanitiser in the mail
Changes to Royal Mail services Changes to Parcelforce Worldwide services Sending hand gels/sanitiser in the mail
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Temporary change to postal arrangements on Saturdays

From 2 May, Royal Mail will no longer deliver 1st and 2nd Class standard letters and large letters on Saturdays. They will continue to deliver parcel services on Saturdays (including 1st and 2nd Class parcels including Signed For parcels, Special Delivery Guaranteed and International tracked services) as well as Signed For letters and large letters.

Customers can continue to post both letters and parcels as usual on Saturdays, as Royal Mail will continue Saturday collections from Post Offices as normal. 

Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed

From Tuesday 31 March 2020:

  • Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm will be guaranteed the next working day* but by 9pm
  • Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am will be guaranteed the next working day* but by 12pm

*existing postcode exceptions apply

Longer retention periods for items being kept for you at the Post Office

From Monday 6 April Royal Mail are extending the time an item is kept in Post Office branches or at their Customer Service Points, from 18 days to 30 days before items are returned to sender.

This applies to the following:

  • Items we’ve left a ‘Something for You’ card
  • Local Collect items where the parcel is addressed to the Post Office

Royal Mail International services

Royal Mail is working closely with international partners to maintain services, however, the number of countries they can access is changing daily.

Services to many countries like the USA remain operational, but due to significant delays to a number of countries from a lack of available transport links and suspension of some in-country postal operations.

For a full details by destination information go to:

Any items for suspended destinations already posted will be processed or held, depending on the availability of outlets to the country.

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Suspensions of Parcelforce Worldwide UK and international service guarantees

Parcelforce Worldwide are continuing to offer their services, however for any items posted from 18 March 2020 they have suspended their service guarantees on all services but will maintain service levels where they can.

Suspension of Parcelforce Worldwide services

Parcelforce Worldwide express9 and express10 services are currently suspended therefore Post Office branches will not be selling these services until further notice.


Parcelforce Worldwide International services

Parcelforce Worldwide are currently processing international parcels, however due to delivery delays, delivery guarantees are suspended. Details of any country or area suspensions and the latest updates are available at

The majority of our international partners are also suspending requirements for signature on delivery, and therefore a signature on delivery cannot be guaranteed either.

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If you wish to send hand gels/sanitisers in the mails, please follow the guidance below:

  • There are several hand gels available, the gels that are flammable and have the GHS flammable pictogram (see right) are prohibited in the mail
  • If customers are unsure please ask them to open parcels and check for pictogram
  • There are chemical sanitisers that are not flammable which are permitted and these will not have the pictogram and are safe to send
  • These items are not governed by their alcohol content.
  • This applies to domestic and international mail (subject to country restrictions)