Coronavirus fears push Amazon to extend work from home policy

The policy includes its Seattle headquarters, the San Francisco Bay Area and Italy

Amazon.com Inc has extended its work-from-home advisory to include employees in New York and New Jersey, the company said Monday, as the world’s largest online retailer and other corporations aim to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission among their ranks.

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“We continue to work closely with public and private medical experts to ensure we are taking the right precautions as the situation continues to evolve,” Amazon said in a statement.

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Amazon did not immediately respond to a question on whether its policy applied to fulfillment center workers. The advisory specified “employees who are able to work from home.”

Amazon has created more than 7,000 full-time jobs in New York and more than 17,500 in New Jersey, according to its website.

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Amazon’s remote work recommendation includes its Seattle headquarters, the San Francisco Bay Area and greater Milan, Italy through the end of March, the company said.

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Amazon and peers in the technology industry, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp, have embraced remote work so the virus does not spread in their sprawling offices, which often have cafeterias and other communal spaces for employees to congregate.

Last week Amazon said one of its Seattle workers tested positive for the virus, which originated in China late last year and since has come to at least 105 countries and territories, infecting more than 110,000 people and leading to thousands of deaths.

As of Nov. 2018, Amazon had 2,000 employees at its New York metropolitan area technology hub, with another 2,000 jobs planned for future years.

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