Jeff Bezos tells Amazon workers they'll have to wait for face masks

Amazon has placed orders for "millions of face masks" for employees and contractors that have not arrived, founder says

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said "things are going to get worse before they get better" but "people are depending on us" in a weekend message to employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Bezos' message comes after the ecommerce giant confirmed an employee at a small New York warehouse tested positive for the virus.

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But Amazon said it is looking to hire 100,000 new workers for its U.S. warehouse and delivery wings in order to keep pace with rising demand for items including hand sanitizer, baby formula and medical supplies.

An Amazon Prime truck passes by the sign outisde an Amazon fulfillment center, March 19, in Staten Island, New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

"We’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world — everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines," Bezos said.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.1,900.10-55.39-2.83%

The U.S. has surpassed 26,000 confirmed cases, with more than 1,700 cases in Washington state, Amazon's home turf. Only New York has more cases.

Bezos added that Amazon has placed orders for "millions of face masks" for employees and contractors that have not arrived.

A man leaves an Amazon fulfillment center, March 19, on Staten Island, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

"Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics," Bezos wrote. "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."

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