Americans who have been frustrated with the slow service of the U.S. Postal Service since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic probably won’t be thrilled to hear this: The service is about to get even slower.
Starting Friday, the Postal Service will “implement new service standards for First Class Mail and Periodicals,” spokeswoman Kim Frum said in an email to USA TODAY.
The changes mean an increased time-in-transit for mail traveling long distances, such as from New York to California. Frum said that “most first class mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected” by the changes. Single-piece first-class mail traveling within the same region will still have a delivery time of two days.
The Postal Service defines first-class mail as “standard sized letters and flats,” Frum said. That’s different from first-class packages, which are typically used for shipping smaller, lightweight packages. Currently, first-class mail and first-class packages have the same delivery standards, but that will change beginning Friday.
Additionally, starting October 3 through December 26, the Postal Service will temporarily increase prices on all commercial and retail domestic packages because of the holiday season and its increase in mail volume. Those price increases will not affect international products, Frum said.