ST. LOUIS ( - The holidays are long over, but many are still experiencing shipping delays with the United States Postal Service.

“They have incredible challenges. I’m so sympathetic to their challenges but that increased our challenges 10-fold," said Kris Kleindienst, who is the co-owner of Left Bank Books in the Central West End. 

She said the shipping delays have resulted in some of her packages taking triple the amount of time to get to her customers.

“It has hands down by the most challenging of my 47 years working here," said Kleindienst. 

Between a sharp increase in online ordering and a strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, USPS is struggling to keep up. 

An alert posted on the USPS's website reads:

"USPS is experiencing unprecedented volume increase and limited employee availability due to the impacts of Covid-19. We appreciate our patience."

The president of the American Postal Workers Union denied News4's request for an interview. Instead, she referenced an interview from a couple weeks ago where she said the Postal Service hired more workers, but some can't handle the hard work and have left. 

"There are backlogs and we're still working on it everyday. 10 and 12, 10 and 12 hours a day," said Rebecca Livingston with the Postal Workers Union. 

A spokesperson for USPS said of the more than 664,000 employees nationwide, 39,383 have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

News 4 asked the union how many employees are quarantined and was told to direct that question to USPS, who didn't answer. 

A report by NPR said union workers estimate 14,500 postal employees are currently under quarantine. 

“That kind of stress they’re under and they’re still out there bringing you your mail, they’re literally risking their lives," said Kleindienst.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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