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High mail volume, limited staff leading to mail delays in Sumter and beyond

The United States Postal Service says it's experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to COVID-19.

SUMTER, S.C. — Across Sumter County there have been reports of mail arriving late.

Kizzy Grant was at the area’s post office Monday. She says she’s among those experiencing delays.

“I had a check that Social Security told me was supposed to reach me on December 31, and I’ve been coming down here, (and) coming down here asking about it,” Grant said. “So, that’s a hurting feeling financially, mentally. I mean, it just make you feel bad all the way around.”

James Drayton was also at the post office. He said he too has experienced the issue.

RELATED: ‘We’re bombarded with packages’: USPS working in overdrive this holiday season

“Late mortgage statements,” Drayton said. “This will be the third week right now.”

They’re not alone, News19 posted online and, shortly after, more than a dozen others shared similar concerns.

The U.S. Postal Service is asking for patience on their website with a surge of mail and limited staff available.

News19 reached out for an interview about the issue, but the service declined, instead sending the following statement:

“The 2020 Holiday Season was a record for the United States Postal Service with more than a billion packages delivered. Shippers across the board were challenged with airlifts and trucking capacity for moving historic volumes, causing temporary pockets of delays,” the statement read. “As is our duty, we accepted all volumes and our employees rose to the occasion to deliver for America. This epic volume was also amplified by employee availability challenges and necessary COVID-19 policies designed to keep our employees and our communities safe. We echo the thanks of so many of our customers who are saluting our dedicated employees who proudly carried out their duties to the American public. They are to be recognized for their service during the pandemic, an intense election season, and now this record-setting Peak Season.”

RELATED: Missing a package? Millions may arrive late this Christmas as Postal Service wrestles with delays

The service did not share how much longer they anticipate the delays will continue.

“Of course we know it’s a pandemic going on and a lot of things are slow, but it’s just the principal of the situation,” Grant said. “Something that’s due to you by the 31st and now it’s almost the middle of the month, you still ain’t got it?”

“I hope it pick up, so that I can get my stuff out on time,” Drayton said. “So, I don’t have to worry about paying no late charges.”