The COVID-19 shutdown has kept most people at home. When they venture out, they wear masks and gloves, and are quick to wash off not only themselves but even their groceries the moment they walk in the door. But what about when packages are delivered?
Rossa Cole was expecting boxes to be delivered, which health experts recommend be left outside to avoid bringing potential contaminants in. He thought, “I wish I had a really big mailbox,” when it started raining.
So, he decided to build one.
Cole, a photographer and artist who lives in North Haven, used scraps around his studio and about $50 in roofing material to build a temporary home for his deliveries.
“The idea is to keep the germ-spread to a minimum,” he said, joking the package transfer box, as he calls it, is for anyone who may be paranoid.
The one he built on his property is 68 inches tall, 31 inches wide, and 36 inches deep. The box is situated near the road, and lower than a typical mailbox. It has two large doors on the side closest the house, and one facing the road that way the recipients do not have to touch the same handles as the delivery person. The door openings are 20 inches wide and 22-inches tall, enough to allow a standard box in. A homeowner could potentially install a locking mechanism or passcode entrance, or security cameras to protect parcels.
The roof is clear and the box is vented to allow sun to hit the packages and movement of air, which Cole hopes may kill any potential lingering COVID-19.
“Whether that’s proven scientifically or not at this point is anybody’s guess,” he said. “But it’s better to air on the side of caution.”
“At the same time, we’ve used it for all kinds of stuff,” Cole said. His wife left freshly-made muffins inside for her brother to pick up, and they even got an oyster delivery to the box. “It’s becoming a little hub of our connection to the outside world.”
His UPS delivery man, Will Hill, dropped off a package, and Cole asked him what he thought of the box.
“I think it’s great,” Hill said. “It saves me, because I don’t have to go as close, and it’s less steps.”
Plus, “it takes away some of those awkward moments,” he said, describing how people he delivers to are not sure whether they are supposed to take packages from him or not.
Cole is hoping to sell them, and is looking for an investor to join him in the endeavor. He has come up with four options for those interested in getting their own package transfer boxes. He is willing to guide people through the process of making it themselves for free, delivering the materials cut to size for self-installation for $500, or making it himself and installing it for $1500. He also offers a custom-made option for $2500.
Cole can be reached by email at [email protected]