MONTREAL -- Nicole Cloutier has gone from delivering 50 packages a day to almost 200—every kind of item, including clothes, a blender and even a stuffed raccoon.

She did it all while respecting Canada Post’s new work methods in the COVID-19 era, which has brought not only strict new protocols but a huge increase in mail.

Between those two changes, it’s the sheer volume that has been the biggest adjustment, said the mail carrier.

It’s “maybe about the same or a bit more than what we have in the winter, when we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said fellow mail carrier Sophie Grenier.

Getting mail has always been exciting, but maybe now more than ever, with people stuck at home—and people are so eager to get their parcels that carriers rope off community mailbox areas while they’re making their deliveries.

“I have to close off my sections as much as I can,” said Cloutier. “Otherwise people will come right beside you and say ‘Oh yeah, I forgot.’ I cordon it off to keep us safe, for both of our sakes.”

If you’ve seen delays in the mail, this volume is why: Canada Post has an average of 2 million parcels a day to deliver, and it has had to introduced staggered shifts at its 21 processing plants in order to make it easier for employees to keep the needed distance from each other when loading up vehicles and preparing their routes.

There have been some new factors helping easing what would be even longer delays, said Grenier. There’s much less traffic, and there’s no longer any need to knock on doors and get signatures from recipients, according to new protocols.

Plus, people are actually home to get their mail. Porch pirates—people who steal other people’s deliveries off the front porch—can’t have much luck in this environment.

“We deliver everything and don't bring anything back—people are at home,” Grenier said.