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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says he is ‘wholly focused’ on COVID-19 fight

Jeff bezos
Jeff Bezos

The founder and CEO of Amazon wrote an open letter to his employees in which he said he is devoting all his time and attention to only one issue: the impact of COVID-19 and his company’s response to the spread of the virus.

“My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role,” Jeff Bezos wrote in a letter on the company’s website. “I want you to know Amazon will continue to do its part, and we won’t stop looking for new opportunities to help. There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone. My list of worries right now — like yours I’m sure — is long: from my own children, parents, family, friends, to the safety of you, my colleagues, to those who are already very sick, and to the real harm that will be caused by the economic fallout across our communities.”

Amazon has come under scrutiny as several of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Bezos noted in the letter that the company has placed purchase orders for millions of face masks that it wants to give to its employees and contractors who cannot work from home, but very few of those orders have been filled.  

“Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics,” he said. It’s easy to understand why the incredible medical providers serving our communities need to be first in line. When our turn for masks comes, our first priority will be getting them in the hands of our employees and partners working to get essential products to people.

Amazon has expanded its paid time off policy or employees who contract COVID-19 and is also providing cash grants equal to about two weeks pay to workers who aren’t eligible for PTO. It has also raised hourly pay and overtime pay for employees in its fulfillment network.

To read the full letter, click here.

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