HAZEN, N.D. (PNS) – Many economists say the pandemic is making it harder for small businesses to survive.

To make matters worse, troubles with mail delivery could exacerbate their problems, including store owners in North Dakota. Major revenue losses at the U-S Postal Service have been well documented. And recent operational changes, defended by the new postmaster general as necessary cost-cutting moves, have resulted in reports of mail- and package-delivery delays.

Antoinette Heier of the Hazen Chamber of Commerce says it’s something some of their members has experienced. She says there’s concern about how it will impact them moving forward.

And it’s not just commercial mail that rural communities are worried about. The postal service plays a key role in getting medications to older Americans, especially in smaller communities. Package Coalition chairman John McHugh says delays with those shipments pose a more devastating risk.

The postmaster general insists that deliveries still will be timely, including absentee ballots for the election. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have announced an investigation into the reported delays at the postal service.

There also is proposed legislation to create a $25-billion-dollar fund to help the agency bounce back from coronavirus-related losses and expenses.