Postmasters have moved to assure the public that post offices are remaining open during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) has said they are an "essential service to local communities" – and measures have been agreed with An Post to prioritise public safety.
IPU General-Secretary Ned O’Hara said: "Social distancing will require postmasters to limit the number of customers in the premises at any one time.
“The IPU also understands that the Department of Social Protection is working with An Post and will shortly announce new service arrangements to support social distancing.
"Hand sanitisers are being installed in all post offices as they become available and health and safety notices on social distancing are being placed in queuing areas.
“Opening hours are being extended and adjusted to suit local requirements and this is being kept under review."
Meanwhile An Post has made an arrangement for vulnerable people to appoint a temporary agent for the collection of payments.
Postmasters say they recognise the need for this measure, and will be vigilant and observant of any risk of financial abuse.
Mr O’Hara also stressed that the appointment of an agent to continue collecting payments locally will help to sustain local economies during the crisis.
In instances where a postmaster may have to self-isolate, arrangements will be made for payments to temporarily be available in a neighbouring office.
An Post announced on Wednesday that post offices will open early on Friday to allow older people to collect their social welfare payments.