Package Delivery during the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 2020

The way in which packages are delivered to and within high-rise communities has taken on greater importance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Package delivery approaches in high-rise communities are in conflict with physical distancing and self-isolation efforts.  This occurs at a time when package delivery volumes are growing.

Package delivery volumes are growing because physical distancing and self-isolation efforts require a different approach to obtaining food, groceries and other items.  With most stores closed and those few remaining open implementing restrictions, online ordering and package delivery is the only viable option for many.  This puts a strain on the systems and individuals expected to receive these packages.

High-rise communities offer services and have policies that make it impractical to fully self-isolate and maintain physical distancing.  Disallowing deliveries direct to a suite door make it necessary for residents to meet deliveries in a lobby or force interaction with a concierge.  This cannot change without relaxing security precautions or considering new approaches to package deliveries.  In the absence of changes someone must interact with residents and those delivering packages.

Package volume is estimated to have grown 30 percent by mid-March, and possibly another 50 percent or more since then.  Once the pandemic has passed package volumes are unlikely to drop back to traditional levels.

High-rise communities were designed to facilitate social interaction and convenience.  Adapting to coronavirus pandemic priorities requires decisions and trade-offs regarding package acceptance.


No Package Acceptance

In communities where packages are not accepted at a concierge or main desk:

  • Packages left in an unlocked entrance lobby are at risk of theft
  • Packages delivered direct to a resident door create a security risk
  • Notices left on a wall informing residents of attempted package deliveries can easily disappear

None of this is appealing nor reflective of resident interests.  Requiring residents to travel elsewhere for package retrieval is counter to physical distancing and self-isolation practices.

Package Acceptance at Concierge Desk

When packages are accepted at a concierge desk residents generally receive notice.  Uncontrollable factors include volume of packages received and length of time held.  The longer it takes residents to retrieve packages the more problems arise as space gets filled up and stored packages are harder to retrieve.

Packages are handled by more people.  The concierge deals with package delivery agents when receiving packages and again with residents as they retrieve packages.  This approach is counter to physical distancing and self-isolation practices.

Contactless Package Acceptance

A more complete solution reflecting the needs of communities and individuals, and consistent with current pandemic practices, is to establish secure lockers where packages can be delivered and retrieved without involving concierge/security.  Concierge/security and building management are relieved of the responsibility to accept, store and retrieve packages for residents.  Packages can be delivered and retrieved while respecting physical distancing and self-isolation practices.