Post Office holidays 2021: USPS releases holiday deadlines to know

WASHINGTON -- The United States Postal Service has released its holiday deadlines to know for this year.

"No matter your plans, the Postal Service is ready to do its part to handle your special holiday greetings and gifts. But we also need you to do your part, and that is to make sure you get those packages and good wishes to your Post Office location on time," the USPS said.

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Starting Oct. 1, the USPS will begin to slow down first-class mail and cut post office hours.



The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25:

Nov. 6 - USPS Retail Ground service Military Mail
Dec. 9 - Priority Mail and First-Class Military Mail
Dec. 15 - USPS Retail Ground service
Dec. 16 - Priority Mail Express Military Mail service
Dec. 18 - First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
Dec. 18 - First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 20 - Priority Mail service
Dec. 23 - Priority Mail Express service

Alaska

Dec. 18 - Alaska to/from Continental U.S.- First-Class Mail
Dec. 18 - Alaska to/from Continental U.S.- Priority Mail
Dec. 21 - Alaska to/from Continental U.S.- Priority Mail Express

Hawaii

Dec. 17 - Hawaii to/from mainland--Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 - Hawaii to/from mainland--Priority Mail Express

The busiest time of the season for the Postal Service begins two weeks before Christmas, the USPS said. It's expected that customer traffic at all Post Office locations will steadily increase beginning the week of Dec. 6, with the week of Dec. 13-18 anticipated to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week of the season.

Those using the USPS will notice price increases.

On Aug. 29, the cost of a First-Class Forever stamp increased three cents, from 55 to 58 cents.

There are also temporary price increases in place through Dec. 26, 12:01 a.m., Central time for both retail and business customers. These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume surges similar to levels experienced in 2020, USPS said.

Visit USPS.com/holidaynews for more details.

Americans across the country could also start seeing slowdowns in mail delivery after the U.S. Postal Service implemented its new service standards.

The changes, which include longer first-class mail delivery times and cuts to post office hours, are part of embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's 10-year plan for the agency that he unveiled earlier this year.

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According to USPS spokesperson Kim Frum, the service changes won't affect about 60% of first-class mail and nearly all periodicals. Within a local area, standard delivery time for single-piece, first-class mail will remain at two days.

However, mail traveling longer distances will take longer to arrive in some cases, due to the USPS increasing transit time.

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The USPS' sweeping plan, titled "Delivering for America," promises to make the Postal Service more competitive and more modern -- including a new energy-friendly fleet of delivery vehicles. In March, DeJoy, a Trump administration holdover, told reporters in a news briefing that it "takes a holistic view of the organization and is meant to elevate our business, competitiveness and our ability to meet the needs of the nation."

In February, DeJoy apologized for slow mail during the peak holiday season, telling the Democratic-controlled House Oversight and Reform Committee that it was "unacceptable."

Also in February, Biden nominated three people to the agency's Board of Governors, a move some lawmakers hoped would eventually lead to DeJoy's ouster and that fulfilled a promise the administration would make the board and the agency a priority in the early days of his presidency. The trio of nominees said in April during a congressional hearing that they had not made any commitments or been pressured about the potential firing of DeJoy.

CNN contributed to this report.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.
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