Just one day after The Sun (United Kingdom) reported that at least six Amazon warehouses had gotten infected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), newer reports added another five, bringing the current infected Amazon warehouse total to 11.
One of the first known cases occurred at an Amazon facility in Queens, NY, during the first week of March. This was followed by another at Amazon’s Staten Island, NY, fulfillment center, where a worker tested positive and was immediately placed under quarantine on March 11.
Other known cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) at Amazon facilities include one in Joliet, Ill., another in Edison, NJ, and a slew of cases in Moreno Valley, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Shepherdsville, Ky.; Brownstown, Mich.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Katy, Texas; and Wallingford, Conn.
Some of these sites have since been temporarily shut down, including the Queens location. The others, however, have reportedly refrained from closing down completely and are rather taking “extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site[s].”
Part of these measures include routinely sanitizing all door handles, elevator buttons, lockers, and touch screens. Employee shifts are also being staggered, while chairs in break rooms are being spaced apart to allow for at least a few feet of social distancing.
The growing number of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases at Amazon is only making employee morale even worse after some workers complained that the company hasn’t been doing enough to protect them, not to mention customers who are receiving potentially tainted packages.
This, combined with a growing number of Americans using Amazon to purchase essentials that, in some cases, are no longer available in brick-and-mortar stores, is creating something of a nightmare for Amazon as it struggles to handle the crisis.
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Amazon’s white-label toilet paper won’t be available until mid-April
Many Amazon items aren’t available for two-day Prime shipping anymore, including Amazon’s white-label toilet paper, which reportedly can’t be delivered until at least mid-April.
Other items are also in short supply, or won’t be available until many days from now. Demand is so high, in fact, that Amazon says it’s comparable to peak holiday periods such as Black Friday.
“We’re boosting employment by 100,000 in the way that we do for seasonal periods like the holiday, when we need extra workers,” stated Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs.
Prior to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis reaching the United States, Amazon held about 39 percent of the e-commerce industry. Now, that percentage could be substantially higher as many stores are lacking in items, staff, or are closed entirely.
Because of this added rush, many Amazon workers are having to work longer hours, and in bad conditions. They say that the company is “recklessly endangering” them by refusing to grant them any paid time off, though some workers in the Chicago area say they’ve successfully petitioned the company to work with them.
As far as notifying its workers about cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) at warehouses, one worker from the Staten Island facility reportedly told the media that Amazon didn’t disclose to the employees there that one of them had tested positive, illustrating Amazon’s lack of transparency.
“I realize we’re all in uncharted territory, but yes, I would have appreciated learning about the infected person from Amazon’s HR (human resources) department and not from Reddit or Vice,” this worker is quoted as saying.
To keep up with the latest news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
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