Royal Mail will stop handing over signature machines and leave parcels on doorsteps to protect customers.

Instead of using signature machines Postmen and postwomen will log the name of the person accepting the item and can sign on their behalf.

Royal Mail has also announced that if the parcel does not fit through your letter box it will be left on your doorstep.

To ensure the parcel has been delivered the postman or postwoman will step a safe distance away from the door after knocking while the customer retrieves their item.

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Shane O’Riordain, Royal Mail Managing Director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs said: “We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected. We are working hard to deliver mail to every part of the UK. Mail is still scheduled to be collected and delivered as normal. This is a fast-moving situation and local services levels may at times be impacted by local absences.

“Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously. From today we have introduced a range of new social distancing measures aimed at offering further protection for our colleagues. Standard ways of working are being revised to ensure that, wherever possible, colleagues stay two metres apart. We are implementing a new rule that means there will only be one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time. Processes have been further reviewed to minimise the passing of work between colleagues. And we are calling for the washing of hands when colleagues enter and leave Royal Mail buildings, as well as at regular times during the day.”

If a customer does not come to the door a ‘something for you’ card will be issued advising of the other ways to get the parcel.

This includes getting a family member to collect the parcel from a local customer service point.

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In line with guidance from the UK's Chief Medical Officer and public health authorities, the royal mail has advised colleagues on good hand hygiene and are providing latex gloves.

“The hand soap that we provide is effective for hand washing and good hand hygiene in line with the guidance from public health authorities. It is also possible to use sanitiser or gel. However, there are long lead times for these products. We are trying to get it. But, so is everyone else.

Shane O’Riordain said: “We continue to act on public health authority advice which is updated daily. In the meantime, we share regular updates and information with colleagues. We have also adopted enhanced disinfectant cleaning of communal areas in all Royal Mail sites on a daily basis. We are monitoring the situation closely.

 “Public health authorities have advised people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from public health authorities for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.

  “These actions form part of a package of measures being taken by Royal Mail to protect both its customers and its colleagues”.