Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) was forced to close a New Jersey warehouse until December 26 when it experienced a rise in asymptomatic coronavirus cases within workers. Employees at the site were notified Saturday that the facility, known as PNE5, will be closed for a period of time.
According to Amazon spokesperson, Lisa Levandowski, workers will be compensated for any shifts they miss throughout the closure period.
“Through our in-house COVID-19 testing program, we detected an increase in the number of asymptomatic positive cases at our PNE5 facility in New Jersey and have proactively closed the site until December 26th out of an abundance of caution,” Levandowski said. “This is exactly why we built the program — to identify asymptomatic cases and ensure that we can take swift action to prevent spread.”
Nevertheless, Levandowski has yet to confirm the number of total cases within the New Jersey facility or whether the building will be sanitized while closed.
In October, the company revealed that almost 20,000 front-line employees had been infected with Covid-19 between March 1 and September 19. However, Amazon said that the rate of infection within employees was 42% below what was expected, if compared to the general population rate in the U.S.
Amazon is one of several companies striving to get its workers priority access to the coronavirus vaccine. Dave Clark, who runs Amazon’s retail operations, wrote to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel asking that warehouse employees, Whole Foods workers and data center employees “receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time.”