Amazon enacts new coronavirus measures as employees protest safety conditions

Some employees worry that Amazon hasn't enforced enough safety rules to protect employees from novel coronavirus

Amazon is enacting four new safety measures as employees across the country protest over concerns that the e-commerce giant is not enforcing proper coronavirus precautions.

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A number of workers at Amazon warehouse facilities across the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, and some are worried that Amazon hasn't enforced enough safety rules to make sure other employees don't contract the disease.

Dave Clark, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations, responded to employee concerns in a blog post on Thursday.

Christian Smalls holds a sign at Amazon building during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Staten Island borough of New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020. (Reuters/Jeenah Moon)

"Amazon associates and partners working in our operations network and data centers are among the many heroes of the COVID-19 crisis. ... Nothing is more important to us than making sure that we protect the health of our teams, and we’ve been working around the clock since the early days of the outbreak to make changes to our processes and procure the necessary supplies for this," Clark wrote.

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He said that the e-commerce giant has made more than "150 significant process changes to ensure the health and safety" of its workers, then listed a number of other changes the company is making to build upon its safety efforts.

The company will perform temperature checks on employees as soon as they arrive at work; those with temperatures above "the CDC-recommended 100.4F" will be sent home.

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Amazon is also keeping its promise to deliver masks to workers; it ordered "millions" of masks several weeks ago that will be distributed to employees starting Thursday. Masks will be available at "all locations" by next week. The company has also worked to keep disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer readily available.

The company will be performing daily audits of its new health measures at its more than "1,000 sites around the world."

Steven Smith places packages onto a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

"With over 1,000 sites around the world, and so many measures and precautions rapidly rolled out over the past several weeks, there may be instances where we don’t get it perfect, but I can assure you that’s just what they’ll be — exceptions," Clark wrote.

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Clark announced that the tech giant has filled 80,000 of 100,000 open positions Amazon offered several weeks ago when COVID-19 started impacting its supply and demand. He added that the company has spent $150 million of its initial $350 million investment in additional pay for its workers so far and plans to "happily" go beyond that goal.

Clark also said Amazon has offered all of its workers two weeks of paid leave if they feel sick and decide to self-quarantine.

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