Amazon has told all of its employees to work from home for the rest of March amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to CNBC, the retail giant said it is now encouraging all employees who can work from home to do so, in order to enforce social distancing and “lessen the impacts on public transportation”.
In a statement to the news source, an Amazon spokesperson said: “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.
“As a result, we are now recommending that all of our employees globally who are able to work from home do so through the end of March.”
Their warning applies to all its employees across the globe. However, while those working from Amazon’s corporate offices will be able to do so, many fulfillment centre and delivery employees “cannot carry out their job duties while working from home”.
Earlier this week, Amazon said it also would provide two weeks of extra paid time off for full and part-time employees who are diagnosed with coronavirus or self-isolating. This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of the month.
The company said it will continue to pay all hourly employees, including food service janitorial and security staff, who support its offices around the world.
The group has also established the Amazon Relief Fund with a $25m (£19m) initial contribution. The fund will be used to support its independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees “under financial distress during this challenging time”.
In its online blog, the retail giant said: “The health and safety of our employees and contractors around the world continues to be our top priority as we face the challenges associated with COVID-19.
“Leaders across Amazon are meeting every day to consider the evolving situation and are consulting with medical experts to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our teams healthy.”