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Amazon doing temperature checks, providing face masks; up to 80,000-plus new hires

Amazon outlined additional steps to protect its fulfillment center and delivery employees during the COVID-19 outbreak after coming under some criticism that it was not doing enough.

In a blog post, Dave Clark, senior VP of worldwide operations at Amazon, said the company will start taking employees’ temperatures when they report to work and also supply them with face masks. The temperature checks started Sunday, March 29, at select U.S. sites and have since been rolled out to more than 100,00 employees per day. 

“The complete rollout of temperature checks across our entire U.S. and European operations network and Whole Foods Market stores is expected by early next week, at which point we will be testing hundreds of thousands of people daily,” Clark said.

Any employee who registers a fever over 100.4 is told to go home and is only allowed to return after going three days without a fever.

In addition, protective face masks will be available to employees beginning April 2 in some locations and in all locations by early next week. 

“Any N-95 masks we receive we are either donating to healthcare workers on the front lines or making them available through Amazon Business to healthcare and government organizations at cost,” Clark added.

Amazon is also conducting daily audits of the new health and safety measures it has put into place.  

“We also assigned some of our top machine learning technologists to capture opportunities to improve social distancing in our buildings using our internal camera systems,” Clark said. 

The company also gave an update on its recent effort to hire 100,000 warehouse workers and delivery drivers. Amazon has already hired more than 80,000 people into these roles, Clark said, and has spent more than $150 million to support workers, reflecting its $2 per hour pay bump.

“We expect to go well beyond our initial $350 million investment in additional pay, and we will do so happily,” he added.

Clark ended his post by saying that if someone would rather not come to work, Amazon is supporting them in their time off. 

“If someone is diagnosed or comes to us who is presumptively diagnosed (but unable to get a test), we are giving them extra paid time off,” he said. “In addition, we are also contacting people who have been in close contact with a diagnosed individual and giving them time off as well, for 14 days, to stay home with pay. We continue to evaluate all options to ensure the support of our teams during this unprecedented time.”

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