LIHU‘E — On Sunday night, the U.S. Congress passed the COVID Relief Bill, which among other things approved the transition of a $10 billion loan to the U.S. Postal Service in March and into a grant with conditions.
According to the bill, the grant ensures that six-day delivery of mail continues, and guarantees that no funds may be used by the USPS to close small, rural and other small post offices, including offices in Lihu‘e, Hakalau on Hawai‘i Island, Hana on Maui and Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.
Every year Congress passes funds through an appropriation act to help post offices get federal funding, but this year, because of the pandemic, they just added the bill to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant in March to make it easier for Congress to function.
Senator Brian Schatz breaks down the importance of this new bill and what it means for Kaua‘i’s historical post office.
“For Lihu‘e, this means protecting the historic post office on Rice Street and the six-day service people rely on,” Schatz said. “This is good news, and I’m grateful we were able to get this included in the bill and passed by Congress.”
Now that the loan is a grant, staff at small post offices like Lihu‘e are grateful.
Strategic Communications Specialist Duke Gonzales of the USPS speaks of the Lihu‘e post office.
“We appreciate the support of Sen. Schatz and the entire Hawai‘i congressional delegation as it pertains to this funding legislation and in general terms,” Gonzales said.
“Our 2,000-plus Hawai‘i employees are committed to delivering the best possible service to our customers on Kaua‘i and the entire state, come rain or shine. During this especially-challenging year, they’ve truly proven how essential they are.
“They’ve been a lifeline for many of their customers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the way through the busy holiday shipping season,” Gonzales said.
Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.