December 23, New Jersey: E-commerce giant Amazon, decided to shut down one of its warehouses in New Jersey until December 26, after it noticed a surge in asymptomatic coronavirus cases. According to a notice released to the media, employees posted in the Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, facility were informed about the latest development on Saturday that the site would remain closed for a few days owing to a sudden increase in covid-19 case. Employees will be paid their due compensation for any shifts that they might miss out on, owing to the recent decision made by the organization.
A Surge of Asymptomatic Cases
In the words of Lisa Livandowski, spokesperson for Amazon, “Through our in-house COVID-19 testing program, we detected an increase in the number of asymptomatic positive cases at our PNE5 facility in northern New Jersey and have proactively closed the site until December 26th out of an abundance of caution.”
This is the exact reason why the program was built. The actual motive was to identify asymptomatic coronavirus cases and make sure that immediate action is taken to help curb the spread.
In October this year, Amazon disclosed that 20,000 of its frontline workers tested positive for COVID-19 between March and September. Though the retail giant claimed that infection among its employees was lower by 42 percent as against average US national, it had temporarily shut down a warehouse facility in Queens, New York. It was followed by closing yet another warehouse located in Shepherdsville, Kentucky after several of Amazon’s frontline workers tested positive for the deadly virus.
Some Safety Attempts by Amazon
In an attempt to maintain social distancing, keeping facilities clean to ensure employees’ safety, Amazon not only carried out regular disinfection activities but also set up testing sites at some of its warehouses and in October it said that it was already conducting at least one thousand tests in a single day.
Nonetheless, frontline workers and other employees still continue to demand paid sick leaves and a temporary increase in pay due to extended work hours. Amazon is one of the many American companies that are appealing for their employees to receive a vaccination on a priority basis.