Royal Mail is suspending its special delivery service, which guarantees delivery by Christmas Day.
The postal service was already busy due to the influx of post that comes around each Christmas season, but this has been heightened by those unable to travel posting their cards, letters and presents to family instead.
Royal Mail’s suspension of the special delivery service therefore means that the company cannot guarantee items posted on 23 December will arrive before Christmas.
The company’s service bulletin said, "We have made the difficult decision to make the following changes to our timed guarantees for our Special Delivery by 9am and 1pm services.
"For Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am and Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm items posted on Wednesday 23 December we are suspending our delivery guarantee.
"While we cannot currently provide a guarantee that items posted on Wednesday 23 December will arrive prior to Christmas due to the impact of the new coronavirus restrictions, we can assure you that we will be endeavouring to deliver all items as quickly as possible. We know how important this is.”
‘Royal Mail has temporarily suspended all mail services to Europe’
Deliveries to mainland Europe have also been temporarily halted, after numerous countries banned travel from the UK in order to try and stop the highly transmissible new variant of Covid-19 from crossing borders.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “This is a fast-moving situation and we are monitoring things on an hourly basis. We are working to keep as many international mail services running as possible given the ongoing restrictions around air, road, ferry and train movements to and from the UK.
"Royal Mail has temporarily suspended all mail services to Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland. We are keeping the situation under close review with a view to reinstating services.
"Customers should check our website for regular updates. There may also be delays on mail services into the UK as a result of the current restrictions.”
The firm is also experiencing delays to Canada and Turkey due to air capacity being “severely limited,” and although it is “working with our airline and postal/courier partners across the globe to maintain services,” Royal Mail says “delays should be expected.”