The Kent, Wash.-based outdoor retailer has shut down its campuses in Kent, Georgetown and Bellevue/Eastgate for a “thorough deep cleaning,” a company spokesperson confirmed to FN today. About 1,800 employees will work remotely through Wednesday, March 4.
“Yesterday we were notified of two incidents of potential employee exposure, both deemed ‘low risk’ by CDC guidelines, and we made the decision to proactively close our corporate campuses,” an REI spokesperson told FN. “REI is among a growing number of businesses and schools in the area that are taking precautionary steps.”
A state of emergency was declared in King County, Wash., on Monday, after health officials reported that six people in Washington have now died from coronavirus. Five of them live in King County, where Seattle is located. More than 100 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., including at least 14 in King County.
REI is not the only firm in the footwear and apparel sector to temporarily shutter its corporate campuses amid the virus. Nike shut down its Beaverton, Ore. world headquarters over the weekend for a deep cleaning due to a presumptive coronavirus case in nearby Lake Oswego. The Swoosh also made the decision to close its European headquarters in Amsterdam this week, from Monday to Wednesday, after an employee was diagnosed with the virus.
Internationally, the coronavirus has claimed more than 3,000 lives and infected over 92,000 people. While the majority of the cases have been confined to mainland China, the last two weeks have seen a spike in infections outside of China, with South Korea, Italy and Iran among those hit hardest.
Concerns over the coronavirus have already led several footwear and fashion firms to issue revenue and profit warnings for the year, among them Skechers, Wolverine World Wide and Tapestry Inc. Companies are cautioning that their fiscal-year bottom lines may be hurt by decreased sales and widespread store closures across heavily affected regions.
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