The retail giant Amazon has announced that it will roll out temperature checks and face masks for staff at all its U.S. and European warehouses plus Whole Foods stores by early next week.
According to Reuters, Amazon said it would start testing hundreds of thousands of employees a day for fevers using forehead thermometers. Anyone registering more than 100.4 Fahrenheit will be sent home. Additionally, all locations will have surgical masks available by early next week.
Amazon said the mask rollout and temperature scans have begun at facilities near its Seattle headquarters and in New York. Workers from at least 19 warehouses have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began. Employees also held walkouts in New York and near Detroit this week.
The company will also use machine-learning software to monitor building cameras and determine whether employees are staying at safe distances during their shifts.
Workers who record a high temperature will be forced to stay home for three days without a fever before they can return. Unions and elected officials have criticized Amazon’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, with some even saying the retail company should close.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said the company has changed more than 150 processes to promote social distancing. Clark added Amazon has begun to stagger warehouse work start times and ended stand-up meetings during shifts.
“Nothing is more important to us than making sure that we protect the health of our teams,” Clark said.
Walmart also announced it would begin taking temperature checks and providing masks to its employees. Both companies have increased their hiring process during the coronavirus outbreak as online orders have skyrocketed due to quarantine orders across the country. Amazon has announced that it has hired 80,000 workers across the country and reported a full and part-time workforce of 798,000 as of Dec. 31.
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