Mail deliveries were delayed Friday in Billings, after United States Postal Carriers were told to return to their offices at 4:30 p.m., regardless if they’d finished their routes or not.

District-wide all carriers stopped delivering at 4:30 p.m. Marcela Juarez Rivera, a spokesperson for USPS, cited deteriorating weather as the cause. The district includes all of Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Some routes weren’t completed Friday in Billings. This may lead to further delays in mail delivery Saturday.

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“We certainly understand that the halting of any delivery or shortening the day can impact our customers. We regret that, but our number one priority is the safety of all involved, both employees and customers,” Rivera said.

She said the district manager in North Dakota, Douglas Stevens, decides to pull carriers. He was not available for comment. Rivera didn’t know how district managers determine if weather is too hazardous, or why the whole district was instructed to leave at 4:30 p.m. specifically.

“I believe they felt it was in the best interest to pull them at the 4:30 time frame,” Rivera said. Weather conditions are monitored every hour to protect employees, she said. Alternative methods to receive mail and packages are most likely available for customers worried about not receiving their mail on time Friday or Saturday, like retail services, Rivera said.

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