MUNDS PARK, Ariz. — Hundreds of residents, mostly senior citizens, living in a small rural town in northern Arizona have raised concerns after losing their only post office amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The shuttered post office is in Munds Park, a small town about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Flagstaff that welcomes thousands across the state each summer looking to trade in the heat for the cooler mountainous weather.
Now, the community that has five restaurants, eight street lights and no traffic lights is forcing its older residents to travel to Flagstaff to retrieve mail, KNXV-TV reported.
“My first reaction was, ‘oh boy we’re in trouble now,'” resident Tom Hlusak said, adding that many residents were shocked to see the post office doors closed and notices up directing them to pick up their mail in Flagstaff.
Some residents have asked the U.S. Postal Service to find better accommodations, calling the situation unacceptable.
“Many of these residents are shuttered at home because of the COVID-19 situation. They don’t go out. The post office has been their lifeline for medicine, supplies they are ordering, and now you’re telling them to drive 40 miles and stand in an hour long line?” resident Allison Tiffany said.
The Munds Park Community Church has tried to help by asking volunteers to act as couriers and pick up their neighbor’s mail, KNXV-TV reported. They have received 12 volunteers so far.
The Postal Service allows one person to pick up mail for no more than six people.
A letter from U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office told residents that a private contractor tasked with running the post office suddenly quit without notice and the agency has attempted to hire a replacement.
A timeline for hiring a replacement was not outlined in the letter.