On Friday, May 29, Centre County, Pennsylvania moved into the Green Phase of the state's COVID-19 safety plan.
For businesses like the American Philatelic Society and the American Philatelic Research Libary, the Green Phase requires continued aggressive mitigation procedures (including social distancing, use of face masks, employee workspace separation and enhanced cleaning techniques) of previous phases. Though in-person work is now allowed, it is coupled with limits on the number of people occupying indoor spaces and mitigation requirements.
Out of an abundance of caution for employees of the APS and the APRL, the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania will remain closed to the public and members. This ensures staff are able to meet the needs of all members and clear out the backlog of work caused by the two-month closure. Members can schedule curbside deliveries and pick-ups with a member of staff. Masks should be worn during these exchanges.
“Thanks to an incredibly supportive membership and a great team in Bellefonte, we’ve made progress on reducing the backlog caused by the two-month closure,” said Scott English, APS Executive Director and APRL Administrator. “Meeting the needs of the members and maintaining a safe work space for our employees requires some changes to how we operate. Thank you to all our members for their continued support and understanding.”
- March 22, 2020: The American Philatelic Center, the headquarters of both organizations, closed when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the "Stay at home" orders as the COVID-19 virus spread across the state.
- May 11, 2020: The APC reopened for modified operations under the yellow phase with limited staff access and enhanced health and safety standards.
- May 29, 2020: Centre County enters green phase. While the Green Phase allows up to 75% of staff to return to the office, APS and APRL expect that on-site staff will remain at approximately 50%. The remaining staff will operate remotely, but be able to work in the building and access materials when necessary.
Here are updates on the departments most impacted by reduced operations:
Stampstore.org currently has a two-week backlog and shrinking. As a reminder, sellers are welcome to send in new material and we are scanning and posting material offsite.
Circuit Sales books are in the mail. So if you are on circuits, watch your mailbox and enjoy shopping! If you would like to sign up to receive this at-home service where you can look at stamps and make purchases from the safety of your home, click here for details.
Circuit sellers are submitting new material and our customers are eager to buy! We welcome new material to share with our buyers.
All completed certificates are being returned to their owners. The Expert Committee is now fully operational again and we continue to catch up on our outstanding requests for expert opinions.
We have been accepting new submissions, so customers can send them now. As always, we are processing submissions on a First In, First Out basis.
Have questions? Contact APEX@stamps.org.
Although we are not accepting visitors, the APRL is providing full library services. We have made great progress on reducing the backlog of requests and encourage researchers to contact the library with new requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The remaining departments, Education, Content and Membership, are continuing to work remotely. Members can communicate seamlessly with all employees in those departments by email or phone.
The American Philatelic Center will remain closed to APS members, volunteers and the general public until further notice. You can however arrange for outside deliveries and pick-ups, which must be arranged through a staff member by appointment. Masks must be worn during these exchanges.
No facility rentals will be available until further notice.
For those interested in supporting the APS and APRL staff in these challenging times, please donate to the APS Cares program. A group of APS members established this fund to thank the hardworking men and women of Team APS to help maintain payroll during this difficult time.
Several employees (Morgan Stinson, Doris Wilson, Kathleen Edwards, Scott Tiffney, Krystal Harter, and Helen Bruno) have been featured in articles recently on the APS website sharing their favorite APS memories. Future staff profiles will be posted in the weeks ahead.