Spain – Major delays in the distribution of international mail

2020-03-19

Further to EmIS 21/2020, the designated operator of Spain, Correos y Telégrafos, wishes to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that the Spanish government has declared a “state of alert”, from Saturday, 14 March 2020 and effective for 15 days, in order to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This state of alert applies to the entire Spanish territory and comprises a number of extraordinary measures, effective at least until 28 March or until a later date that may be communicated in due course.

The state of alert was announced in Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March, with a view to managing the health crisis caused by COVID-19 (available in Spanish at: www.boe.es/boe/dias/2020/03/14/). For the next 15 days, people should stay at home and limit their movements within Spain. Travel is currently authorized for specific reasons such as purchasing food, medicines and other basic necessities, commuting to and from work, and medical visits.

Therefore, Correos y Telégrafos can pursue its activities only in compliance with strict ad hoc measures in line with government directives. In order to ensure that human contact is minimized, so as to preserve personal safety, it is deemed necessary to significantly reduce the workforce deployed in the logistics chain, with regard to both sorting and delivery.

This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter post, parcels and EMS). This is expected to last at least until 28 March. For this reason, as indicated to the National Regulatory Authority, service delivery standards cannot be guaranteed and a situation of force majeure has been declared until the situation returns to normal.

Correos y Telégrafos, as a major employer and a key element in the country’s economy, is fully committed to playing its part in helping Spain to overcome this major challenge. A dedicated committee, involving all senior management, has already been working for a number of weeks, in close contact with the relevant institutional bodies, to define and continuously adapt its operations and services in compliance with government-mandated measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although Correos y Telégrafos is fully committed to keeping its international mail processing centres, domestic sorting centres and delivery network open and operational, a number of special provisions are being implemented in the wider national interest, in order to protect employees, citizens and customers.

A special sanitation plan, covering the entire post office network, postal premises and fleet of vehicles, is in place and will continue until the end of this pandemic. Personal safety equipment is also being provided throughout the retail and logistic networks so as to protect staff in their daily work, and special directives are in place to manage customers’ presence in post offices under safe conditions.

Airports remain open, although many airlines have cancelled their flights to Madrid. As a result, the distribution of international mail will be subject to major delays until the situation returns to normal.

Correos y Telégrafos is, of course, constantly monitoring the situation and will take prompt corrective action in response to new developments. The provisions set out above will remain in effect until further notice.

Correos y Telégrafos thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding, and will provide timely updates on any relevant changes via EmIS.