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Return to sender: USPS decides to hold off on cutting hours at several area post offices

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- After announcing Thursday that it would scale back hours at several post offices in southeastern North Carolina, the Postal Service reversed course Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, the USPS announced 11 locations in the eastern part of the state would have adjusted hours for Wednesdays and would be closed on Saturdays. The Postal Service said the changes were a result of data reviewed in an effort to realign retail hours with actual customer use.

The Postal Service had said the changes would go into effect May 18 at post offices including Castle Hayne, Chadbourn, Clarkton, Holly Ride, Lake Waccamaw and Winnabow. The offices were slated to close at noon on Wednesdays and not open at all on Saturdays.

By Thursday evening, though, USPS says the postal district had received dozens of phone calls about the planned changes, according to a news release. Mid-Carolinas District Manager Angela Curtis said she looked further into the matter and realized there were some other actions that could be considered.

"It's important that we make thoughtful decisions after a thorough review of data. We are facing severe financial challenges, but we can't forsake service to our customers," Curtis said in a statement. "I've asked my operations manager for that area to look at the data again and see if we can make some internal adjustments for now."

The original announcements came as the Postal Service awaits legislative action to address its grim financial status. Still, Curtis says, changes must be balanced.

"Action is needed; that's for certain," she said. "But we have to be careful when we do it. Service to our customers must be at the forefront of all decisions."

Curtis reiterated that no changes will be made in the short term.

"Later in the year, we'll reassess each office and see how the revenue is trending," she said. "We'll make the necessary decisions and take actions based on applicable postal procedures."

Curtis also apologized to customers for any confusion caused by the postings at area post offices.

"We remain committed to our customers, and we'll be sure to communicate any subsequent decisions well in advance of planned implementation dates," she said.

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