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Amazon closes New Jersey warehouse after employees check constructive for coronavirus

Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Photos

Amazon has closed a warehouse in northern New Jersey till Dec. 26 after it noticed an uptick in asymptomatic coronavirus circumstances.

Workers on the Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, facility, generally known as PNE5, had been knowledgeable Saturday that the positioning would briefly shut, in accordance with a discover obtained by CNBC.

Amazon workers might be paid for any shifts that they’re going to miss whereas the power is shuttered, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski instructed CNBC in an announcement.

“By means of our in-house COVID-19 testing program, we detected a rise within the variety of asymptomatic constructive circumstances at our PNE5 facility in northern New Jersey and have proactively closed the positioning till December twenty sixth out of an abundance of warning,” Levandowski stated. “That is precisely why we constructed this system — to determine asymptomatic circumstances and be sure that we will take swift motion to stop unfold.”

Levandowski did not instantly reply to questions in regards to the whole variety of circumstances at PNE5 or whether or not the constructing will bear further cleansing whereas it is closed.

Amazon in October disclosed that almost 20,000 front-line workers contracted Covid-19 between March 1 and Sept. 19. On the time, the corporate stated the speed of an infection amongst workers was 42% decrease than anticipated, in comparison with the final inhabitants charge within the U.S.

Amazon has beforehand shuttered different services for temporary stretches of time after it logged new coronavirus circumstances. In March, Amazon briefly closed a supply station in Queens, New York after a employee examined constructive for the coronavirus. That month, it additionally closed a facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, after a number of employees there examined constructive.

Most of Amazon’s warehouses have remained open throughout the pandemic, as they had been deemed important services, alongside grocery shops, pharmacies and banks, amongst different companies.

The corporate has beforehand stated it is gone to “nice lengths” to maintain services clear and ensure workers are following needed security precautions, comparable to carrying a masks, utilizing hand sanitizer, training social distancing and different measures. Amazon has additionally launched testing websites at a good portion of its warehouses and in October stated it was conducting 1000’s of exams a day.

Nonetheless, warehouse and supply employees throughout the U.S. have referred to as on Amazon to do extra to guard front-line workers, together with reinstating momentary pay will increase and offering paid sick go away.

Amazon is amongst a number of firms vying for his or her employees to get precedence entry to the coronavirus vaccine. Final week, Dave Clark, who runs Amazon’s retail operations, wrote to a Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention panel asking that warehouse workers, Entire Meals employees and information heart workers “obtain the Covid-19 vaccine on the earliest applicable time.”

On Sunday, the CDC panel voted that individuals 75 and older and front-line important employees ought to be subsequent in line for the coronavirus vaccine. Firefighters, law enforcement officials, academics, grocery employees, public transit and postal employees are among the many important employees included within the tier, generally known as section 1b. Different important employees are anticipated to be included within the third wave of recipients.

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