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A Canada Post carrier leaves his truck in downtown Toronto. The Crown corporation is encouraging the public to give mail carriers a thumbs-up to show their appreciation, rather than approaching them during the coronavirus pandemic.Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press

Canada Post is announcing changes to its in-store and delivery procedures, including asking Canadians not to answer their doors until after mail carriers have left to protect the health of workers and customers by implementing physical distancing measures.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Crown corporation said Monday that delivery employees will now use a “knock, drop and go” approach, knocking or ringing doorbells, finding a safe place to leave parcels and then leaving.

“This change eliminates the need for signatures at the door and greatly reduces the number of parcels sent to our post offices for pickup,” Canada Post Corp. said in a statement. It said items that require proof-of-age, identification or a customs payment will be sent directly from the post office’s depots to retail post offices for pick up and customers will receive a delivery-notice card in the mail.

Customers are asked to give carriers space and to “avoid opening the door or greeting them personally when they are at the door to deliver, or filling a community mailbox.” The post office encouraged customers to instead give their mail carriers “a smile and wave through the window” or a “thumbs up” to passing Canada Post trucks.

Many Canada Post retail locations will now open one hour later and close an hour earlier than usual, giving staff time to clean and restock. For the first hour of each day, post offices will offer priority service to the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. (These policies may differ at franchisee-owned locations.)

Canada Post is also asking customers to practice social or physical distancing when in stores by keeping two metres apart, and is considering placing limits on the number of customers permitted inside smaller locations at one time.

The post office will continue to accept cash payments but is encouraging customers to use the “tap” function of their debit or credit cards.

Canada Post said it is trying to keep most post offices open but said some may close owing to building closures while some smaller locations may close because of staffing issues.

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