The postal connection between Estonia and the United States that was suspended for weeks has supposedly been restored – at least the United States Postal Service has removed Estonia from the list of countries where it could not dispatch mail.
On 9 May, the news broke that the USPS had suspended sending any mail to Estonia, citing the lack of means of transportation. “The Postal Service is temporarily suspending international mail acceptance for certain destinations due to service impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the USPS says on its website, listing 111 countries, including Estonia, that the suspension affects.
Estonia was listed in the section of countries where the suspension is in effect due to the unavailability of transportation.
On 12 May, however, the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, announced on Facebook that the USPS had deleted Estonia from the list of countries where the mail service was suspended due to the global coronavirus crisis.
“With that, the US authorities assert, the mail service is restored,” Reinsalu said. The Estonian embassy in Washington, DC, communicated with the representatives of the USPS and managed to get the country removed from the list. “It was a technical problem,” Reinsalu noted.
Problems existed before 9 May
However, there is no definite proof whether mail actually travels from the US to Estonia, as before the 9 May news on the suspension, there was evidence that there were problems with dispatching mail even weeks earlier.
The US-based editor of Estonian World, Sten Hankewitz, mailed a letter from Chicago to Estonia on or around 17 April. On 9 May, the letter was returned to the sender after over two weeks of lingering in the USPS system, bearing a label, “RETURN TO SENDER. REFUSED. UNABLE TO FORWARD”.
Estonia was the only European Union country in the list; outside of the EU, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina were the only European countries listed by the US Postal Service. Both these countries have also been removed from the list.
Cover: A United States Postal Service mailbox. Photo by Tareq Ismail on Unsplash.