As Amazon works to keep up with coronavirus-related demand, it is also working through the health challenges of its own personnel.
According to media reports, workers in at least nine U.S.-based Amazon warehouses have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The warehouses reportedly include those in Staten Island and Queens, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Moreno Valley, Calif.; Katy, Texas; Brownstown, Mich.; Shepherdsville, Ky.; Wallingford, Conn.; and Oklahoma City. Amazon did not immediately reply to FN’s request for comment.
In some cases, local media reports indicate that facilities were closed temporarily for cleaning and that workers who came into contact with the infected employee (or employees) were placed in quarantine.
For instance, Amazon temporarily shut down its delivery facility in Queens, N.Y., last week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth confirmed to FN on March 19. Workers were sent home for a day with pay while the warehouse underwent sanitization.
With Americans advised to stay home for now amid the coronavirus, many have turned to online ordering, leading to a spike in demand on Amazon.com.
As panicked shoppers stock up on household staples online, Amazon is racing to keep up with demand and delivery. The company said that it is taking “every possible step to increase our inventory of relief supplies, basic-need products and other household staples.” As the company focuses on restocking household items, Amazon Prime shoppers are seeing delivery delays on some nonessential products.
Additionally, Amazon announced last week that it would hire 100,000 additional employees, including delivery drivers and warehouse workers, to keep up with the surge in demand. The company is spending $350 million to boost pay by $2 an hour for hourly workers in the U.S. and Canada.