UPS Reportedly Tells Drivers to Stop Picking up From Major Retailers Amid Pandemic-Amplified Holiday Surge

UPS has reportedly told its drivers to stop picking up from major retailers amid a surge in holiday shopping that is amplified by the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Wall Street Journal, the outlet obtained an internal message that ordered drivers are not to pick up from a handful of retailers, including Gap, Nike, Hot Topic and Macy’s. Multiple UPS workers reportedly confirmed that they were advised there would be "no exceptions."

The reason for the directive seems to be related to data that reveals online shopping has increased exponentially due to people staying home and avoiding stores, due to the rising cases of coronavirus. The WSJ also cited an estimation from The National Retail Federation, which indicated that online shopping increased 44 percent over a five-day period. This specific time span included both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

A UPS spokesperson issued a statement about the report to The Hill, saying that the company "will work with our larger customers to ensure the volume gets picked up and delivered as more capacity becomes available in our network," if demand exceeds planned space.

"We are pleased with the way the UPS network is performing as we exit the Thanksgiving holiday and move into the month of December, delivering record volume," the statement went on to read. "UPS continues to work closely with our largest customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers." The spokesperson added, "This collaboration includes specific capacity allocations last weekend and throughout the holiday season. We’ve worked with our large retail customers to ensure they are aware of how much capacity is available to them."

The spokesperson added that "UPS is prepared this holiday season" and is "well positioned to support our customers’ needs." They also stated that UPS "is committed to maintaining the reliability of its network for other customers, including small- and medium-sized businesses, which have been hit hardest during the pandemic and are also seeing an increase in holiday volume." Finally, the statement also read, "The network capacity for our SMB [small- and medium-sized business] customers must also remain strong to help the recovery of this vital part of the economy."