NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Postal carriers and delivery workers are dropping off more packages than ever. Delivery companies like UPS are reporting nearly 10% increases in shipping in their first quarter.

CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to mail carriers on Tuesday about how the coronavirus pandemic has altered their jobs.

Eric Lomax has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 18 years. He delivers mail in Queens, a COVID-19 hotspot. He said the job has changed a lot over the last few weeks.

“We’re dealing with delivering medication, stimulus checks, PPE, food,” Lomax said. “Every day, I get home, take off my uniform outside the door, making sure everything is sanitized, just being cautious.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

On a normal day in New York City alone, 1.5 million packages are delivered. That number has spiked due to the face that people have been stuck inside ordering everything online.

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The USPS, UPS and FedEx are all reporting they’re currently exceeding the number of packages usually seen around the holidays.

“I would equate it to Christmas, yes, definitely. If not, a little bit more,” Lomax said. “Nobody wants to come out of their homes, so we’re bridging that gap for them. Six or seven days a week we’re working.”

It’s hard work, but Tony Mazzella, a 32-year UPS employee, said the pandemic has given him more purpose.

“Every package is important. I take my job seriously, but when I deliver to a hospital I feel a great sense of pride and know that’s it’s something that is essential. We deliver stuff that’s actually like critical to customers,” Mazzella said.

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To stay socially distant, UPS and USPS are not requiring customers to sign for packages right now.

Mazzella said he misses that connection.

“It’s lonely. It’s different, you know. The interaction isn’t there,” he said.

But Mazzella said since being deemed an essential worker, he feels more appreciated.

“There’s a guy there with his kid. He goes, ‘I’m waiting for my package.’ I said, ‘I have it.’ His kid goes, ‘Dad, are those the masks that are going to protect us?'” I thought it was very touching. Everyone’s just, like, happy to see us. ‘Thank you for doing your job.’ It’s pretty overwhelming,” Mazzella said.

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Even once businesses begin to re-open delivery companies expect the shift to e-commerce to accelerate. To keep up, UPS said it is hiring.

Until then, Mazzella said he’ll take the overtime.

“When you’re in the gym you push yourself to get that last rep. I push myself to deliver that last box,” Mazzella said.

Both Mazzella and Lomax said they’re proud to be two of thousands of delivery workers keeping America running.

While the USPS said it is shipping and packages have increased compared to last year, it won’t offset losses in mail service revenue due to coronavirus. Congress approved a $10 billion loan for the USPS last month.

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