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Amazon closes New Jersey warehouse after employees take a look at constructive for coronavirus

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Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Pictures

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

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

Amazon staff will likely be paid for any shifts that they’re going to miss whereas the power is shuttered, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski advised CNBC in an announcement.

“By our in-house COVID-19 testing program, we detected a rise within the variety of asymptomatic constructive instances 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 mentioned. “That is precisely why we constructed this system — to establish asymptomatic instances and be certain that we will take swift motion to forestall unfold.”

Levandowski did not instantly reply to questions concerning the whole variety of instances at PNE5 or whether or not the constructing will endure extra cleansing whereas it is closed.

Amazon in October disclosed that nearly 20,000 front-line staff contracted Covid-19 between March 1 and Sept. 19. On the time, the corporate mentioned the speed of an infection amongst staff was 42% decrease than anticipated, compared 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 instances. In March, Amazon temporarily 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 through the pandemic, as they had been deemed important services, alongside grocery shops, pharmacies and banks, amongst different companies.

The corporate has beforehand mentioned it is gone to “great lengths” to maintain services clear and ensure staff are following essential security precautions, comparable to carrying a masks, utilizing hand sanitizer, working towards social distancing and different measures. Amazon has additionally launched testing websites at a good portion of its warehouses and in October said it was conducting 1000’s of checks a day.

Nonetheless, warehouse and supply employees throughout the U.S. have called on Amazon to do extra to guard front-line staff, together with reinstating momentary pay will increase and offering paid sick depart.

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 staff, Complete Meals employees and knowledge middle staff “obtain the Covid-19 vaccine on the earliest acceptable time.”

On Sunday, the CDC panel voted that individuals 75 and older and front-line important employees must be subsequent in line for the coronavirus vaccine. Firefighters, cops, 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.