COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Updated on April 2, 2020

If you are an employee, health department, or hospital, please call: (312) 940-6822

If you are a ShipBob customer, please call: (312) 313-1104

WE ARE OPERATIONAL AT ALL FULFILLMENT CENTERS. Use the Table of Contents below to jump to important information on safety precautions, updates from carriers, etc. 

Table of Contents

Overview

With COVID-19 (Coronavirus) evolving at such a rapid pace, we want to provide our customers and partners a brief update on our business continuity plan (BCP) and what that means for you.

Along with the safety of our employees, our top priority is to ensure that we continue to provide high-quality, uninterrupted service to support your business and your customers.

Currently, ShipBob is open at all fulfillment centers and operating at full capacity. While we are working hard for your orders to be shipped and delivered on time, we are extending our SLAs by one business day. We anticipate this change to remain in effect until at least April 30, 2020. This is subject to change and we will update you accordingly.

There are three reasons behind this temporary change:

1. The President proclaimed that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency. For more, please read here from whitehouse.gov.

2. The school districts surrounding all United States based ShipBob fulfillment centers have closed schools. This will greatly impact our employees and we are doing everything we can to support them and their families during these times.

3. We are seeing delays with our carrier partners picking up and processing orders. We are in constant communication with all of our carrier partners and will continue to work extremely closely with each of them. As we receive specifics on carriers, we will update you.

ShipBob’s BCP Plan

ShipBob takes COVID-19 concerns very seriously, and we want to make sure you are aware of the steps we are taking to ensure minimal disruption to our service. We are monitoring and following all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, and US Department of State.

Currently, all states where we have fulfillment centers — California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas — have declared a State of Emergency.

What This Means for Our Employees

We have not seen a direct impact in any location, but are monitoring everything around all of our facilities very closely. As such, we are actively taking steps to minimize the impact and following CDC’s environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

In regards to our associates in the fulfillment center and all visitors, beginning in February we started taking extensive measures, including:

  • All associates within each fulfillment center are required to wear protective gloves and safety masks.
  • All visitors, vendors, contractors, carrier partners, and drivers required to put on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and complete temperature checks before entering for inbound freight drop off, outbound load pickup, or service work within our buildings.
  • All meetings are in small groups of 10-15 to follow social distancing practices, but are still able to hear the message.
  • We’ve extended our paid sick days for employees to give them more time to properly recover.
  • We’ve increased cleaning and disinfecting to be done hourly, with cleaning all surfaces done multiple times per hour.
  • The attendance policy is on freeze so employees have more flexibility, and we have banned all overtime to ensure our employees are getting enough rest.
  • Added Hazard Pay, which increases the effective wages for employees across our fulfillment network during this time period.
  • Launched the ShipBob Giving Fund to give to those experiencing financial hardship by unexpected tragedies. This fund has already raised $50,000 for those working through issues including schools shutting down, businesses closing, and health concerns. This fund will remain in perpetuity long after COVID-19 to support associates who need to bridge that financial gap through extreme situations.

On March 12, we issued a mandatory Work From Home policy for all employees based at our headquarters. In accordance with Executive Order 2020-10 issued by the State of Illinois and federal government ruling, the policy will stay in effect until April 30, 2020 as opposed to the original date set for return on April 1st, until further notice.

While we are hoping for the best, we are planning for the worst to limit the impact it has on our employees, on your business, and on your customers. If there are any additional changes to our operations and our fulfillment of your orders, we will notify you promptly.

If you’re a ShipBob merchant, please see further information below. 

What This Means for Our Merchants (+ Time-Stamped Updates from Carriers)

Our goal is to keep you informed as we see events that might affect our ability to service you and your customers. As we have seen the continued escalation of the Coronavirus on the world stage, we continue to take measures to protect our team.

Please note that all merchant visits to our fulfillment center locations and Chicago headquarters have been suspended until further notice. 

To reduce outside contact and keep our fulfillment centers associates safe, we will not allow pickup orders from our fulfillment centers for the time being. If you request to drop off inventory yourself, we will not accept this without permission from our operations leadership.

For our vendors, contractors, drivers, and carrier partners (including parcel and freight B2B shipments), all are required to put on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and complete temperature checks before entering for inbound freight drop off, outbound load pickup, or service work within our buildings.

April 2, 2020: New international service suspensions from carriers

USPS shared that due to issues working with worldwide postal services for international shipments, they are implementing a Temporary Service Suspension to countries that are no longer able to process or deliver international mail or services originating from the United States due to service disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: The service suspension will become effective on Friday, April 3, 2020. This applies to DHL, UPS Mail Innovations, and other consolidators as well.

USPS will not be able to deliver packages to the following countries:

  • Bolivia
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • Ecuador
  • French Polynesia
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • New Caledonia
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Zimbabwe

These service disruptions affect the following USPS services:

  • Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI)
  • Priority Mail International® (PMI)
  • First-Class Mail International® (FCMI)
  • First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®)
  • International Priority Airmail® (IPA®)
  • International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®)
  • M-Bag® items

For already deposited items, other than GXG, Postal Service employees must endorse them “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender” and then place them in the mail stream for return.

For any returned item bearing a customs form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.

For all other returned items not bearing a customs declarations form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service, or the sender may remail them with the existing postage once service has been restored. When remailing under this option, customers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

Unless otherwise noted, service suspensions to a particular country do not affect delivery of military and diplomatic mail.

March 25, 2020: update from carriers

While processing of domestic and inbound mail from USPS is continuing as usual, shipments going from the US to Canada via USPS and Canada Post are seeing delays due to limited air network capacity.

We are seeing similar delays across other carriers due to limited air network capacity, including DHL eCommerce, UPS Mail Innovations, and Asendia. These countries include:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile – Easter Island
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Djibouti
  • Ecuador
  • French Polynesia
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Macao
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mauritania
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • New Caledonia
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Tunisia
  • Zimbabwe

With these updates from the carriers, please expect a delay in delivery. ShipBob will not reimburse delayed scans or delivery for international shipments. We have extended the no-scan timeline for reimbursements to 5 days (from 3 days) as outlined at the end of this Help Center article.

A note on COVID-19 surcharges

DHL Express has started charging a surcharge for express shipments in light of the current COVID-19 situation. ShipBob will NOT be passing these new surcharges on to our merchants and instead absorb this cost ourselves.

March 18, 2020: UPS international shipping update

Below is the most recent USPS industry dispatch detailing alerts and notices from around the globe. These include mail stoppages, expected delays due to airline capacities/cancellations, elimination of signature services, etc. UPS Mail Innovations will continue to keep ShipBob updated as the situation develops further.

  • Lebanon – The processing of all inbound and outbound international mail conveyed via passenger air transport has been suspended until further notice.
  • Maldives – Suspended the processing of all inbound and outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) from March 19, 2020 to March 28, 2020. This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service for all types of mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items). The disruption is expected to continue until the epidemic is over.
  • Philippines – As part of the enhanced community quarantine in Metropolitan Manila and rest of Luzon Island, a total lockdown of international air and sea transport will be imposed with effect from March 20, 2020. Domestic air, land and sea transport in areas subject to community quarantine have been under total lockdown since March 13, 2020. In view of this situation, Philippine Postal Corporation will operate as follows during the community quarantine, from March to April 12, 2020:
    • International mail processing centres will maintain a skeleton staff, in order to accept incoming international dispatches until the total lockdown of international air and sea transport on 20 March 2020.
    • All post offices in areas placed under quarantine are closed.
  • Chile – International inbound mail addressed to Easter Island will no longer be accepted. There will be delays in the processing and delivery of international inbound mail. Signature on delivery for international inbound mail will be suspended and replaced by delivery methods that limit direct physical contact.
  • Tunisia – Suspended all international flights arriving in and departing from Tunisia, owing to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with effect from March 18, 2020 and until further notice. La Poste Tunisienne is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.
  • French Polynesia – Unable to accept letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items from any Union member countries. OPT PF – FARE RATA is thus declaring a case of force majeure and ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items from any Union member countries until March 31, 2020.
  • Honduras – Correspondence of all kinds will not be handled according to the usual delivery times and quality measurement requirements.
  • Jamaica – Implementing a restructured operations program. This will have an impact on the processing of all inbound and outbound mail, as follows:
    • Inability to guarantee delivery standards for letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items, owing to adjusted opening hours of post offices and postal agencies.
  • Germany – In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and in the interest of the health and safety of Deutsche Post staff, special processes have been put in place for postal items subject to signature upon delivery as from Friday, March 13, 2020. Parcels and registered items that would ordinarily require the addressee’s signature can now be deposited in the addressee’s mailbox or in a secure location on their premises, with signature by the postman/postwoman on their portable device. In cases where items are delivered to the recipient in person, the postman/postwoman will likewise sign on the recipient’s behalf. These measures are aimed at avoiding contact between the recipient and the portable device.
  • Romania – Travel restrictions have led to massive cancellations of international flights. Owing to the suspension of air services to a number of international destinations, Poșta Română‎ is facing difficulties sending international postal items, and delays are to be expected for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter post, parcels and EMS). This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service.
  • Cayman Islands – Suspended all international flights arriving in and departing from the jurisdiction, owing to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With immediate effect, Cayman Islands Postal Service is unable to accept further inbound mail, and will be unable to send outbound mail from March 20, 2020 to April 12, 2020.
    It is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.

March 5, 2020: Update from carriers

We have received updates from our carriers on suspended or closed areas for international shipments in certain countries. Here is a list of affected countries or cities:

Asia:

  • China
  • Hong Kong (As of 3/20/2020, Hongkong Post’s processing of all inbound and outbound mail, including letter-post, parcel-post, and EMS items, is now back to normal.)
  • Macao

Europe:

  • Northern Italy, including the following cities: Casalpusterlengo, Bertonico, Castiglione D’Adda, Terranova Dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, Codogno, Maleo, San Fiorano, Fombio, and Somaglia

Please find listed below a list of carriers that are not available at this time to the destinations listed above:

Standard Ship Options:

  • DHL Ecommerce: Not accepting packages to the locations listed above.
  • UPSMI: Not accepting packages to the locations listed above.
  • USPS: Accepting packages, but they will be held at domestic terminals. March 25, 2020 update: Canada Post – While processing of domestic and inbound mail from USPS is continuing as usual, shipments going from the US to Canada via USPS are seeing delays due to limited air network capacity.
  • Asendia: Accepting packages, but they will be held at domestic terminals.
  • FedEx: A surcharge of $325 applies to all shipments to China.
  • UPS: Wuhan Province only suspended; you CAN ship to rest of China, Hong Kong, and Macao.
  • DHL Express: Wuhan Province and Xian Airport suspended; you CAN ship to rest of China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Recommended Next Steps:

As a result, we recommend doing the following to address this with your customers:

1. Add a disclaimer on checkout regarding possible delays for the affected countries.

2. To help minimize any delays, you also have the option to map all international shipments to “Expedited.” Please note that the Expedited ship option is more expensive than standard ship options.

ShipBob will continue to update customers as information continues to develop.
For any questions, please contact your Merchant Success Manager or ShipBob’s Merchant Care team.

Prioritizing Fulfillment of Essentials

To handle demand, we may allocate some orders to another fulfillment center if your inventory is available to get your orders shipped on time without any additional cost to you.

With the local and state governments putting more preventative measures in place, we are anticipating the need to fulfill orders of merchants that are shipping essentials before all other orders. This includes: 

  • Hand sanitizers
  • Masks
  • Water
  • Health supplements
  • Therapeutic products
  • Baby products
  • Health and household items
  • Beauty and personal care items
  • Groceries
  • Pet supplies
  • Industrial or scientific products
  • Other essential products

While we will do our best to fulfill all orders on time, we will first prioritize products that are life-sustaining. If you are selling non-life sustaining products, there might be a delay in fulfilling orders given the circumstances. We are seeing strong attendance at our fulfillment centers so far, but we have decided to not hire any temporary workers to better protect our employee base and continue running operations.

Cicero, IL Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/20/20)

On March 20, 2020, the Governor of the State of Illinois, JB Pritzker, issued Executive Order 2020-10 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8) and ordered a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation declaring all counties a disaster area in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Please read it in its entirety here.

Portions of the official statement around essential businesses and operations per “Section 1.2: All Essential Businesses and Operations are encouraged to remain open” are below:

Per Section 1.9, “For purposes of this Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure includes…distribution centers.”

Per Section 1.12.i, “Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels.”

Per Section 1.12.m, “Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home.”

Per Section 1.12.n, “Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Business and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrial, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent.”

Per Section 1.12.t, “Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”

For more information from Governor Pritzker, please see here.

Per Governor Pritzker’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers.

Bethlehem, PA Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/19/20)

On March 19, 2020, the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. His official order can be read here.

As part of Governor Wolf’s announcement, a list of life sustaining businesses was included. Please see the full list here. Per this list, ShipBob is categorized within the Trade, Transportation, & Utilities industry, and the following sectors: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Transportation and Warehousing, which categorizes companies in this industry and sector as life-sustaining.

Per Governor Wolf’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers. For more general information around Pennsylvania and COVID-19, please visit here.

Moreno Valley, CA Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/19/20)

On March 19, 2020, the Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsom, issued Executive Order N-33-20. Please read it in its entirety here.

Portions of the Executive Order read as follows:

“The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. I order that Californians working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californians’ health and well-being.”

“The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care.”

For more information on the critical infrastructure sectors outlined by Governor Newsom, please see here.

Per Governor Newsom’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers.