Slovakia – Measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus

2020-03-24

The designated operator of Slovakia, Slovenska Pošta, a. s., asks us to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that, in accordance with the measures taken to minimize the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Slovakian government has introduced measures including self-isolation, social distancing, advising people to work from home and restricting travel.

Ultimately, the management of Slovenska Pošta has issued a “stay at home order” for support staff, requiring them to work remotely from their homes and restricting their access to their normal place of work. This measure is in force from 16 March 2020 until further notice.

Given these new arrangements, all inquiries, including those handled electronically through Internet-based systems for parcel-post, EMS, registered and tracked items, are liable to be disrupted. In addition, call agents may be unable to deal with telephone inquiries.

Consequently, there may be a severe impact on service quality for international inbound and outbound services and service delivery standards (including delivery times and other quality parameters) applicable under UPU provisions and related bilateral and multilateral agreements (such as EPG, PRIME, Interconnect and EMS) with designated operators can no longer be guaranteed in Slovakia. Slovenska Pošta is therefore invoking the force majeure and analogous provisions of all such standards, including the application of penalty payments and quality link to remuneration (such as pay for performance) until the situation has returned to normal.

To limit the spread of COVID-19 and in the interest of the health and safety of Slovenská pošta staff, special processes have been put in place for postal items subject to delivery, specifically as follows:

Parcels that would ordinarily require the addressee’s signature can now be deposited in parcel terminals (these measures are aimed at avoiding contact between the recipient and the courier or postman/postwoman);

–  Delivery of registered items is suspended and will only be notified. These items will be deposited at post offices and the customer will receive a notification (announcement to mailbox, electronic notification sent by e-mail or SMS).

Slovenska Pošta has also extended by 14 days the current period of 18 days during which postal items will be stored at post offices. This is intended to alleviate customers’ concerns about having to collect items from post offices immediately, and also to help to reduce customer flows at post offices.

Furthermore, Slovenska Pošta wishes to emphasize that, owing to the suspension of flights, it is currently unable to send letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items to an increasing number of countries both within and outside the European Union. Therefore, temporarily, Slovenska Pošta will no longer accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items for destinations to which transport capacities are unavailable.

Slovenska Pošta thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding. It will update them via EmIS once the situation has returned to normal.