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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Amazon shuts its New Jersey warehouse until AFTER Christmas as asymptomatic COVID-19 cases rise among workers - but it says packages will still get delivered on time

 An Amazon warehouse in New Jersey will be shut until December 26 after a rise in COVID-19 cases amongst workers.   

On Saturday, the company informed employees at a facility in Robbinsville Township that the location, known as PNE5, will be closed until the day after Christmas following an increase in asymptomatic positive cases amongst workers.

The world's largest online retailer did not reveal how many workers contracted the disease at the sorting center. 

An Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement that the closure was done 'out of an abundance of caution'.

She added: 'Through our in-house COVID-19 testing program, we detected an increase in the number of asymptomatic positive cases at our PNE5 facility in northern New Jersey and have proactively closed the site until December 26th out of an abundance of caution', as reported by Reuters. 

Workers will be paid for the shifts that they miss, the company confirmed.  

Amazon's worth soared to $186.7billion due to demand for online packages caused by the pandemic. Pictured is Robbinsville warehouse in 2019, the facility is closed until December 26 due to a virus outbreak

Amazon's worth soared to $186.7billion due to demand for online packages caused by the pandemic. Pictured is Robbinsville warehouse in 2019, the facility is closed until December 26 due to a virus outbreak

The company's fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, pictured in 2018, suffered a COVID-19 outbreak. Activists have targeted the company urging them to reveal the safety measures for workers

The company's fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, pictured in 2018, suffered a COVID-19 outbreak. Activists have targeted the company urging them to reveal the safety measures for workers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, pictured in 2019, made $70billion during the pandemic

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, pictured in 2019, made $70billion during the pandemic

Amazon has been a big beneficiary during the pandemic, with CEO Jeff Bezos, 56, making around $70billion this year. 

His net worth is now an estimated $186.7billion. 

In October, Amazon revealed that around 19,816 of its U.S. frontline workers contracted the coronavirus between March 1 and September 9 this year, or 1.44% of the total 1.37million workforce.

There have been at least eight confirmed Amazon worker Covid-19 deaths. 

Amazon said the rate of infection among employees was 42% lower than expected, compared with the “general population rate” in the U.S.

If Amazon’s infection rates were in line with the community, the total number of cases would have reached 33,952, the company said.  

Bezos has been subject to intense scrutiny from politicians and activists to reveal the measures the company is taking to protect its work-force. 

Some staff, elected officials and unions in recent months have said Amazon put its employees' health at risk by keeping warehouses open during the pandemic.

Bezos has been under pressure from politicians and activists to offer greater protection to Amazon workers during the pandemic. In April activists painted a message on the street outside his Washington DC home

Bezos has been under pressure from politicians and activists to offer greater protection to Amazon workers during the pandemic. In April activists painted a message on the street outside his Washington DC home


Bezos has been subject to intense scrutiny from politicians and activists to reveal the measures the company is taking to protect its work-force. 

Some staff, elected officials and unions in recent months have said Amazon put its employees' health at risk by keeping warehouses open during the pandemic. 

In November, the company had said it would expand virus testing to 50,000 U.S. employees per day.

On December 14 California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked a judge to order Amazon to comply with subpoenas his office issued nearly four months ago as part of an investigation into how the company protects workers from the coronavirus.  

In April a group of activists vandalized the road outside Jeff Bezos's $23m home in Washington DC on Wednesday, demanding better coronavirus protections for Amazon workers.

Protesters scrawled 'Protect Amazon Workers' in giant red, yellow and white paint in the middle of a street, with the hashtag '#ForUsNotAmazon' alongside. 

Walmart, the largest employer in the U.S., said in April that fewer than 1% of its roughly 1.5 million U.S. employees had gotten sick with the coronavirus. The company has not released a total number or an updated percentage. 

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