Coronavirus: Amazon to give masks, temperature checks to workers

Amazon to give masks, temperature checks to workers amid coronavirus pandemic

After complaints by workers on the front lines, Amazon is going to give employees face masks and temperature checks at all warehouses in the U.S. and Europe. The safety measures will also be rolled out to Whole Foods stores, Reuters reported.

The workplace adjustments will be in play by early next week, company officials said.

Some workers in New York and Chicago held a strike saying they were not working in a safe environment, BuzzFeed News reported.

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One worker, who was told to stay home with pay, picketed outside a Staten Island location. The employee, Chris Smalls, was fired for not staying home, company officials said.

Smalls said he ignored the quarantine order.

“I stood with my co-workers because conditions at JFK8 are legitimately dangerous for workers and the public. We won’t stop until Amazon provides real protections for our health and safety and clarity for everybody about what it is doing to keep people safe in the middle of the worst pandemic in our lifetimes,” Smalls said via email, according to BuzzFeed News.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights is investigating Smalls’ firing. He also says he is playing on filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

The company will supply surgical masks early next week. N95 masks Amazon intended to use will be donated to medical workers or sold to the government at cost, the company said.

The company is going to add software that will monitor cameras to make sure employees stay a safe distance from each other.

Amazon officials said temperature checks have started at some facilities, checking more than 100,000 employees every day, the company said in a press release. More sites will start checking people for fevers of more than 100.4, sending those who register higher than that number home, according to Reuters.