Guylene Leroux, a Langley letter carrier, delivers the mail for Canada Post amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Guylene Leroux/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Picking up litter and dropping off mail

How Langley’s letter carriers and operations teams are working during COVID-19

While many are held up in their homes, working from dining room tables and emerging only for the quick grocery trip during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are frontline workers all around the City and Township, and not just the ones who are working hard in hospitals or supermarkets.

They are the civil service workers who keep transit options open, municipal operations running, and even mail coming to the door.

Kyle Simpson, manager of engineering operations for the City of Langley, said there is a lot for his team to do that may not be on the forefront of resident’s minds.

“Right now we are doing a lot of water main flushing… boulevard maintenance… picking up litter off the ground. We also do sign maintenance and work on traffic signs,” Simpson explained, adding that COVID-19 has no doubt affected their daily life.

“We have been following provincial guidelines – keeping the two meter distance, washing our hands and carrying out extra cleaning of touch points,” Simpson said.

“Work-wise, there actually haven’t been a whole lot of changes since we’re a smaller municipality,” he noted, pointing out Langley City’s parks and engineering operations team consists of 30 full-time staff members.

Simpson said one of the more usual, yet obvious, obstacles for his crew is that they can only allow one person in a vehicle at a time.

“We would often normally have three or four people in a vehicle, but you can’t maintain a safe distance inside the cab,” Simpson explained. “It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but we’ve leased a few more trucks and have allowed the use of employee’s own personal vehicles.”

The manager also said Langley residents can do their part to help the operations and parks team conduct their work in a safer manner by disposing of their masks and gloves properly.

“We’ve been finding a lot just left on the ground,” he noted, asking for them to be safely disposed inside a trash receptacle so no contact has to be made.

“Non-flushable items, such as cleaning wipes are ending up down the toilet, which could cause sewer pump problems or back ups,” Simpson added, advising people to read up on what can and cannot be flushed.

Roeland Zwaag, director of public works for the Township of Langley, echoed Simpson’s concerns and experiences.

The Township has increased cleaning activities such as pressure washing bus stops, street furniture, and garbage cans. Park rangers at park sites are reminding the public about facility closures and educating users on physical distancing.

The Township additionally adjusted some work programs amid COVID-19 and are not presently crack-sealing roads due to physical distancing limitations, instead focusing on more shoulder and pothole repairs.

Guylene Leroux is another type of civil service worker; she is a rural and suburban letter carrier for Canada Post who services a route in Willoughby and works out of the Langley depot.

“I feel safe,” Leroux assured, saying she wears gloves, a mask, and carries hand sanitizer.

While it’s not mandatory, she said Canada Post supplies those materials for carriers who want them.

“Customers are aware at mailboxes and are sure to keep their distance by going around if a letter carrier is there,” Leroux added. “The schedule has changed so different waves start at 7 and 9 a.m. and disinfecting is done in between,” Leroux explained.

READ MORE: Realtors rally community together to feed Langley’s hungry

She said carriers are also spaced out at their sorting stations so there is an empty space between employees.

Registered mail is to have no contact with anyone, meaning signatures on scanners are prohibited and everything is dropped off – except mail that requires someone over the age of 19 to accept it.

It can be hard to keep new protocols and social distancing in mind with such a busy job; Leroux said the amount of parcels having increased because of online demand.

“The volume feels like the high peak of Christmas,” she said, a time that sees 1.8 million items delivered daily across Canada.

Of course, just as healthcare workers have experienced, Leroux has also noticed support from the community.

“Customers have been leaving positive notes by my community mailbox. Someone drew a chalk drawing with the caption ‘thank you so much letter carrier,’ which brought a tear to my eye,” Leroux recounted. “Some people just give me the thumbs up or tell me ‘thank you for keeping us connected’.”

Despite the onslaught of growing changes and dangers that have resulted in deaths around the world, taking pride in work– as Lerox, Zwaag, and Simpson do – is keeping communities together.

Leroux added “I’m thankful to be working and everyone I work with is always ready to go above and beyond what we do.”

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

CoronavirusLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley Lodge reports one new COVID-19 death, bringing total to 24

Death toll surpassed 22 on Wednesday, making that specific outbreak the deadliest in B.C.

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

VIDEO: Seventy-two Langley Fine Arts students record collaboration on their cellphones

Musicians performed Lake from Patrick Hawes’ work The Blue Bird Variations

VIDEO: Langley Fundamental jazz band performs for local seniors every Thursday

Music group joined by graduates looking to celebrate and spread cheer in the community

LETTER: Walnut Grove man wants gun ban clarified before taking stance

A local letter writer looked into gun ban and came away more confused by the rules

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

Most Read