Information for APWU Members on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

February 26, 2020

Share this article

On February 26, 2020, your APWU Regional Safety Representatives met with the Regional Coordinators, Article 14 Officers, and the Industrial Relations Director. During this meeting COVID-19 was discussed extensively.

Your representatives have held ongoing conversations with the Postal Service about COVID-19. We will continue to be in discussions with the Service as the spread of the disease widens around the world and new information is learned. The APWU cares about your health and safety and is engaged on this issue. We are not allowing the Postal Service to take a passive approach to the risks of the disease.

The most recent information on the COVID-19 virus can be found on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website at There are multiple webpages that discuss the spread, symptoms, and other information on COVID-19.

One of most frequently asked questions received at APWU is in regards to the survivability of COVID-19 on packages coming from areas with wide spread infection. The CDC FAQ page at says:

Q: Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from China?

A: There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. Two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). The virus that causes COVID-19 is more genetically related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats. While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, we can use the information gained from both of these earlier coronaviruses to guide us. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. Information will be provided on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website as it becomes available.

According to the CDC recommendations the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed by frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol, and staying home from work or activities when you are sick.

As more information becomes available, we will post updates on the website and through our other communication channels.

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.