Amazon may be facing a massive surge in demand, but it isn’t immune to the impact of coronavirus. Overnight, an employee in New York tested positive for the virus and Amazon has taken the decision to close the warehouse where they worked.
As Recode reports, the employee in question worked out of Amazon’s Queens delivery station, which is roughly 80,000 square feet in size and employs up to 200 workers. The station is run to sort packages and load them on to trucks for delivery.
An Amazon spokesperson has confirmed that the employee is in quarantine and being supported by the company. The closure of the Queens facility is temporary and specifically to carry out “additional sanitation.” Amazon also confirmed any employees who currently can’t come to work at the delivery station are receiving full pay, but being told to stay home.
For now, the Queens facility remains closed with no clarification on if and when it will open again. It’s also not known how the worked got infected and if Amazon can track who they interacted with at the delivery station recently. We found out yesterday that COVID-19 can survive with enough “viable virus” on plastic for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.
Amazon has already asked as many of its employees as possible to work from home and paused the intake of non-essential goods to prioritize the shipment of household items. Customers have also been warned to expect delays of a few days on delivering orders, but that was before coronavirus reached its facilities.
Amazon is attempting to calm any fears its customers may have, with a spokesperson explaining, “Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with local authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates, and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings … 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.”