Macy's Will Furlough Most Workers as All Stores Stay Closed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Macy's Inc. reportedly plans to furlough the majority of its workers starting this week as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The company includes Macy's stores, Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury. All 775 locations have been closed since March 18, and now that social distancing time lines are being extended, the workforce will be furloughed indefinitely.

Macy's is still taking online orders, but all of its retail locations are closed. According to a report by Forbes, that means it can only afford to keep a skeleton crew to work in the warehouse. The rest of the company's 125,000 employees will be furloughed — meaning that they will not get pay checks, but will continue to receive benefits, such as healthcare. The company hopes to bring people back on slowly as the economy recovers.

Macy's Inc. says that it will cover the cost of its employees' healthcare premium during this crisis, since they will not have pay checks to take it out of. It also noted that employees will likely be called back to work on a staggered basis, assuming the economy recovers gradually when the pandemic is over.

"The COVID-19 outbreak continues to take a heavy toll on Macy's, Inc. business," the company said in a statement on Monday. The furloughs were cited as an important step in aggressively cutting costs.

Even on the e-commerce side of business, Macy's says that some employees will be furloughed. Workers in distribution centers and call center will have more work than retail employees, but not all of them will be able to work.

The company has already taken some aggressive action to re-orient for the changing times. It has frozen hiring, canceled some inventory orders and suspended its quarterly dividend. It also began drawing down its $1.5 billion line of credit.

"While these actions have helped, it is not enough," the company statement said.

Macy's is just one of the country's major employers taking a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Even in companies where people are able to go on working, all is not perfect — on Monday, employees from Amazon plan to walk off of the work site in a strike. According to a report by The Today Show, the workers are angry over the lack of protective equipment — especially after a colleague was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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"We're very low on masks, we don't have the proper gloves, all we want is for the building to be closed and professionally sanitized," lead organizer Chris Smalls said. "I'm afraid to go to work."

For the latest on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the CDC's website.