For many people around the world, online retail services like Amazon have become a lifeline as the COVID-19 pandemic forces self-government isolation. Warehouse and gig workers have become a central front in social distance efforts while risking their health.
Most recently, employees in at least six Amazon facilities tested positive for COVID-19, which spans much of the country east of the Rocky Mountains. The first case occurred at a facility in Queens, NY, followed by Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma. Other facilities in the above states, including one in Staten Island – NYC’s largest fulfillment center – have also emerged. As with all of these stories, this feels like the tip of the spear as the virus continues to gain traction.
When asked what precautionary measures the company is taking to both support and curb employee expansion, an Amazon spokesman told TechCrunch, “We support individuals according to local government guidelines and take extreme measures to ensure the safety of all employees with us to ensure websites. “
People who test positive will be sent home for a paid 14-day quarantine. According to Amazon, facility cleaning rates have also been increased, including everything from touch screens to door handles.
The novel corona virus can live on a number of surfaces over a long period of time. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable viruses were found up to 72 hours after being applied to these surfaces.” While the numbers are frightening, the evidence is evident are greatly reduced during this time. So, you know, keep washing your hands, but don’t freak out.
In a recent open letter to Amazon employees, CEO Jeff Bezos remarked: “My own time and thinking now focus entirely on COVID-19 and how Amazon can best play its role. I want you to know that Amazon will continue to do its part, and we won’t stop looking for new ways to help. “
One of the few major victories for workers is the long awaited and highly competitive arrival of the PTO for those who work more than 20 hours. COVID undoubtedly moved the needle on it.