Coronavirus update

by Steve Watson in March 2020
Update

Update, 6 April: Lack of availability on flights means all mail to Australia is being sent by boat. As a result we’re expecting delivery times of six to eight weeks for all customers in Australia.

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Update, 3 April: Our warehouse remains open, but has had to scale back its operations, so starting 6 April we have just one weekly mail out of magazines, on Wednesdays. That means any orders placed after 1pm on a Tuesday will be sent out via Royal Mail on Wednesday the following week.

We’re very sorry for the delays getting your magazines to you, but of course we fully support our warehouse management in ensuring that their staff are able to work safely. Please note there may also be significant delays within national postal services, leading to additional extensions of the times we would normally expect for magazines reaching customers.

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Update, 1 April: Royal Mail has advised that due to breakdown of international services, they will be unable to deliver to the following countries until further notice: Albania, Armenia, Bermuda, Barbados, Bosnia, Caribbean Islands (BVI), Caribbean Islands – Dominican Republic, Caribbean Islands – Haiti, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, French Polynesia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritania, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Tanzania (DAR), Tunisia, Turks & Caicos, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

We’re very sorry that we’ve had to stop accepting subscriptions and shop orders from those countries, and of course we’re looking forward to resuming a normal service as soon as the advice changes.

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Original post, 24 March: Like everybody else, we’ve spent the last few weeks watching the spread of coronavirus and responding accordingly. So far our response has remained behind the scenes with just a few additions to our FAQs, but I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what we’re doing so that subscribers and customers can see the steps we’re taking.

We closed the Stack office last week and the team have been working remotely since then. Our warehouse in Kent remains open and has introduced a shift system so that a maximum of six packers are in the warehouse at any one time and they can avoid coming into contact with one another. Even working in shifts around the clock this means they are not able to fulfil orders quite as quickly as we normally expect, so we are no longer able to offer same-day dispatch of orders. They will, however, ensure that all items are packed and sent out as quickly as possible and we expect only minor delays on that front (see note above).

The Royal Mail announced contingency plans earlier today (24 March) to keep their service running, and they say they don’t expect major disruption within the UK. We are aware of difficulties with international deliveries, though, and from tomorrow we’re expecting particular problems sending mail to the United States. We use Royal Mail’s Priority Airmail service, but lack of availability on transatlantic flights means Royal Mail are going to have to switch to boat, rather than air. We will still be able to send magazines to our subscribers and customers in the US, but we’re expecting delays of between two and 12 weeks for mail reaching people there.

The situation with international deliveries is changing on a daily basis, but for the most up to date information, please check the Royal Mail International Incident Bulletin.

We’re going to be contacting our subscribers over the coming days to let them know about the delays, and to check whether they need us to update their addresses, since so many people have moved in order to better isolate themselves. We’ll have all that done in plenty of time for the April delivery to go out on schedule. We’ve also contacted our overseas customers who placed orders via the Stack shop in the last couple of days to let them know about the delays – I don’t think they’ll be affected by the airmail delays, but better safe than sorry.

I’ve asked our developers to add a notice at the beginning of the checkout process for both our subscriptions and shop, flagging up the ongoing delays and pointing people to our FAQs for more details. We’re still figuring out the best ways of implementing those changes, but I expect the notices to be live tonight.

And of course I’m also publishing this post and we’ll point as many people towards it as possible. As I write this I’m fully expecting at least some of the information above to become invalid or incorrect in just a few days (or hours?) so I’ll keep on coming back to the post and updating it as events unfold. For now I’m pleased to say that Stack is open and we’ll keep on sending out our magazines as long as we think it’s safe and practical to do so. But as you’d expect, we’re keeping a close eye on the situation and the government’s instructions, and will respond to any changes as quickly and clearly as possible.





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