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American Amazon warehouse worker gets COVID-19


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American Amazon warehouse worker gets COVID-19

The Queens warehouse is operating again after a deep cleaning, Amazon says.

Worker at an Amazon warehouse.
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An Amazon worker at a warehouse in Queens, New York, has been infected by the coronavirus, Amazon acknowledged in an email to Ars Technica. "We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine," a spokesperson wrote.


This appears to be the first Amazon warehouse worker to contract the virus in the United States. Multiple workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in Europe.


Amazon says that after learning about the infected worker, the company sent employees home with pay and performed a deep cleaning of the facility. The warehouse has now been re-opened.


"We’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings," the spokesperson wrote. "We have implemented proactive measures to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance, and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries."


The coronavirus pandemic has only increased the importance of Amazon to the American economy. As customers have grown fearful of catching the virus in brick-and-mortar stores, they've been placing more orders with Amazon. Amazon said this week that it plans to hire an extra 100,000 people to help cope with the surging demand.


However, there's a risk that more Amazon warehouse workers could catch the coronavirus.


Amazon says that it's taking a number of precautions to protect workers. The company says it is maintaining a three-foot separation between workers and has eliminated stand-up meetings during workers' shifts. The company has staggered break times and spread out the chairs in break rooms to minimize contact between employees.


Workers also have unlimited unpaid sick time through the end of the month, and Amazon says it's requiring workers to stay home if they feel unwell.


Correction: I misread Amazon's statement and wrote that employees had unlimited paid sick time in March. In fact they have unlimited unpaid time off.



Source: American Amazon warehouse worker gets COVID-19 (Ars Technica)  

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