The move follows complaints from several St Croix residents who said their mail items were being held hostage, specifically at the Richmond Post Office, as branch officials refused to allow customers to check their mailboxes without wearing a mask. Customers said one employee from the Richmond branch said she makes the rules at that branch.
Since last year, the USPS masking policy required only employees and USPS contractors to wear a mask when serving the public, though it was superseded by jurisdictions with indoor mask mandates. In the US Virgin Islands, the indoor mask mandate was lifted on March 14, 2022, except for ports of entry, medical facilities, nursing homes and at schools. However, the local post offices still required that customers wear them.
On Wednesday, the Consortium was told that several customers were being barred from collecting their mail because they were not wearing masks. The publication reached out the office of Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett and other officials to seek clarity on the matter. Moments later, an email was sent to employees by officials of the US Postal Service Caribbean District clarifying the policy.
The email made clear that the mask policy is for employees and not customers. "Local government made the changes to the executive orders and our customers follow such orders," reads the email.
The USPS also encouraged that signage at the post offices be changed to suggest the use of mask instead of mandating it.