Amazon has detailed some new measures it’s taking to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 at its warehouse facilities in the U.S. and Europe, according to Reuters, including temperature checks and distributing face masks to employees at Amazon warehouses and Whole Foods stores. The commerce giant has seen a dramatic increase in demand as countries and regions globally have ordered lock-down and varying degrees of self-isolation and quarantine measures, and has also seen confirmed cases of COVID-19 among warehouse workers across the U.S.
Amazon has already described some precautions it’s been taking, including mandatory paid 14-day quarantines for employees who test positive, as well as increased cleaning and sanitation efforts of facilities and infrastructure. The new measures to be introduced next week include taking temperatures of employees at the entrances to warehouses, with any individuals with a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit to be sent home, where they’ll have to have three consecutive days without fever to return to work. Employees will also be provided with surgical masks starting next week, the company says, once it receives shipments of orders of “millions” placed a few weeks ago.
In addition to these measures, Amazon will also be using machine learning-powered software to monitor footage from cameras in and around buildings to ensure that employees are maintaining the safe, recommended distances from one another during shifts.
There have been a number of employee actions in response to Amazon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, including a walkout at the company’s Staten Island warehouse, which led to the firing of the worker who led the action. Employees at a Detroit Amazon warehouse are also planning a walkout to protest what they cite as dangerous working conditions.
Meanwhile, Amazon is also staffing up to deal with the increased need for warehouse and fulfillment employees. The company previously announced a plan to hire as many as 100,000 new workers to handle the uptick, and told Reuters on Wednesday that it has already hired 80,000.