VICTORIA -- When delivering the mail, postal carriers may be accidentally exposed to the coronavirus. That's why they're asking residents to keep places they would touch clean.

Even though the Public Health Agency of Canada maintains the risk of being infected with the coronavirus from touching surfaces and objects is low, the union representing postal workers is asking people to disinfect mailboxes and other surfaces to prevent the spread of the virus.

“People are relying on the postal system to keep the economy going and getting vital goods to their homes,” said Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) president Jan Simpson in a news release Tuesday. “They need to know wether their mail is safe. It’s critical we do all we can, and we will stay vigilant as the situation develops each day.”

Postal workers touch more surfaces and items than most people in a working day and extra precautions are required to keep them safe during the pandemic. That is why CUPW is asking people to clean and disinfect anything that could be touched, from gates and mailboxes to handrails and doorknobs daily.

“We are asking the public to help our workers stay safe at this time because we have been declared an essential workplace so we are going to keep working,” said Victoria CUPW Local 850 president Jessica Dempster. “In order for us to do that, we’re asking the people to wipe down any surfaces we are going to come in to contact with while we are delivering.”

The goal is to prevent postal workers from contracting COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of the virus to others in the community.

“We have businesses that are closed so we’re not able to wash our hands as often as we would like,” said Dempster. “If you are able to set something up at your mailbox or at your door, like hand sanitizer or a wash station, that would be great, as well."

Dempster also asks that people respect the need to physically distance when the postal carrier is making deliveries.

“We know you are happy to see us but if you could still maintain the social distancing when we come to deliver that would be great,” said Dempster. “Feel free to wave but just give us our space right now and we’ll give you yours.”

Canada Post is also reminding people with dogs to keep their pets inside and not to open the door when getting a delivery.