Amazon confirmed that a worker at a shipping facility in Queens, New York, tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the company's first known case of COVID-19 for a warehouse employee in the United States. The warehouse facility was temporarily shut down as it was cleaned, a representative said.
"We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine," an Amazon representative said in a statement to CNBC, adding that the affected employee is receiving medical care and is in quarantine. "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."
The Atlantic, who first reported the news, also reported that Wednesday's night-shift workers at the facility learned about the situation from other employees, and that the company had not yet informed them not to report to work. Amazon denied that, and said that it closed the Queens delivery station for "additional sanitation" and "sent associates home with full pay."
Amazon customers took to social media to react to the news; continue on to see what people are saying.
Some people wondered how many others would feel the ripple effect of the Amazon worker who tested positive for COVID-19, including not just customers, but also other shipping company or USPS workers.
Add US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx to that question. Also, many workers at USPS at least have no paid sick leave.— Rich Stevens (@richsin603) March 19, 2020
Let’s not forget postal workers. Your mail is not magically appearing in your boxes.— slvrnblkn8n (@MrMWMassey) March 19, 2020
Others worried if packages needed to be disinfected before being brought inside the home.
Which is why when I get packages from Amazon I leave them on my porch and disinfect the outside, open the box with gloves and wipe down the merchandise packaging inside the box. Someone called me paranoid for doing that. Nope. #disinfecting— DebResists💙🌊💙🌊💙☮️💟 (@debgfreednurse2) March 19, 2020
Can they leave a trace of Corona on the packages? Seems like that could be an absolute disaster.— Jim Delaney (@JimDelaneyMPLS) March 19, 2020
According to the National Institutes of Health, COVID-19 was detectable in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for up to two or three days.
Some complained that Amazon wasn't offering substantial paid leave packages for those affected by the virus.
And is Bezos going to take care of his workers? Boycott Amazon if he doesn’t. Richest man in the world has no excuses not to.— Lisa Murphy (@LiMurphy) March 19, 2020
On March 11, Amazon announced that all employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine would receive two weeks of sick pay. In addition, Amazon gave hourly workers unlimited unpaid time off through the end of March.
Others wondered if Amazon could implement a more widespread usage of drones as delivery tools.
Bring out the delivery robots. Let them take over the roads.— Stay Home (@OldRussetPotato) March 19, 2020
I mean..drones, right? The answer is drones— RC 3ternal (@RC3ard) March 19, 2020
Some worried that people would not want to apply for the 100,000 new jobs Amazon recently announced across the country.
So much for the 100,000 planned new hire amid virus outbreak 😷.— Pandora (@eyeonthestreet) March 19, 2020
Yikes! We can’t have Amazon closing down. We owe their employees a debt of gratitude too working mandatory OT with few days off same with our grocery clerks and those that stock shelves the truck drivers and of course our healthcare workers. They are all heroes 🙏🏻♥️🇺🇸— Katie MacKenzie (@FakeNewsHuntres) March 19, 2020
Some completely swore off buying from Amazon amid the pandemic.
I am not buying from amazon anymore!— Alfredo (@Alfredo01306090) March 19, 2020
Others called on Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, to "step up" and help with funding amid the crisis.
We need the billionaires and the wealthy to step up and help US!March 19, 2020