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Amazon has workers who tested positive for COVID-19 in 10 warehouses - Business Insider [businessinsider.com]:
- Local news reports indicate that at least seven Amazon warehouses in the US have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Amazon has also had confirmed coronavirus cases in three of its European warehouses.
- Amazon has had to balance the safety of its employees against skyrocketing demand for its services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories [businessinsider.com].
Amazon now has COVID-19 cases across 10 of its warehouses globally and faces growing pressure from unions and workers-rights groups to close its facilities.
Local news outlets have reported that there are seven cases in Amazon's warehouses: In New York [nypost.com], Kentucky [courier-journal.com], Florida [fox35orlando.com], Texas [abc13.com], Michigan [clickondetroit.com], Connecticut [wtnh.com], and Oklahoma [businessinsider.com], workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Last week, a delivery station in Queens, New York, was temporarily closed [businessinsider.com]; it was the first US Amazon facility to detect a case of the virus.
Athena [athenaforall.org], a workers-rights advocacy group, said workers at Amazon's warehouse in Staten Island, New York, had to continue working [vice.com] while the facility was being cleaned after the case was confirmed this week.
Amazon had already confirmed that three warehouses in Europe [businessinsider.com] (two in Spain and one in Italy) had cases of the virus, but it ruled out closing warehouses, prompting its Italian workers to strike [businessinsider.com].
Amazon has kept its warehouses running even with confirmed COVID-19 cases
Some workers have voiced concerns that as Amazon ramps up its workforce [businessinsider.com] to cope with the spiking demand they are not adequately protected.
"As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no plan to shut down" the facility in Staten Island, Athena said.
While Amazon has temporarily closed some facilities for deep cleaning in the wake of COVID-19 cases, it has not halted operations at any.
This contrasts with the treatment of white-collar tech workers — Amazon and other major US tech firms have closed offices and mandated that these employees work from home.
Commenting on the latest case in New York, an Amazon spokeswoman said: "We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from local officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site."
She added that the employee was last onsite on March 11 and that Amazon had asked anyone who had contact with them to take 14 days of paid leave.
Amazon has altered its warehouse policies since the outbreak as it tries to balance worker safety with a huge spike in online orders from people staying at home. It has introduced a 3-foot distance rule for its workers [businessinsider.com], scrapped security checks at its gates, and put out hand sanitizer and spray bottles with disinfectant. The company said it had also increased cleanings in its facilities.
Some workers told Business Insider that these measures were not necessarily effective — that workers were still packed together in an enclosed space and that in some warehouses the sanitizing equipment for workers had either run out or were stolen.
A worker in Jacksonville, Florida — which also has a confirmed case — told Business Insider [businessinsider.com] that communication about the virus was "very, very poor."
"Amazon, like Trump, was slow to respond, vague with the truth, and values dollars over lives," they added.