All the Seattle, United States based employees of Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook have been advised by the companies to not to come to work and work from home for the next few weeks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the Washington state.
A recent guidance from the US authorities has asked the companies to take measures to ensure that employees were allowed to work remotely which resulted in the decision by the three tech giants.
“Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with Covid-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness,” read a statement from the US health officials.
A total of 70 vases of the virus infection were reported from Washington till Thursday with a total death toll of 10. King county, which includes Seattle, is the region form where most of the cases have been reported.
If it was possible for the employees to work from home, they should do so till the end of March, said an internal message sent by Amazon to all area employees. “Every team is different and not all work may be conducive to working from home, so please talk with your manager and your team to establish expectations on working remotely,” read the message as reported in the media.
One of its employees in Seattle had tested positive for the coronavirus, said Amazon on Tuesday, which has its headquarters in Seattle. The employee under question went home feeling sick on 25 February after he complained of fever and had not returned to work at the company’s offices, said an an internal message of the company. The employee is reportedly currently in quarantine.
On the other hand, the social media company Facebook closed its Seattle office for the rest of the week after a contractor of the company’s office in Seattle was confirmed to have been infected by coronavirus. It has been reported that the individual had last visited the office on 21 February.
A sprawling corporate campus in downtown Seattle of Amazon has more than 45,000 employees while there are about 5,000 employees of Facebook in the Seattle area. there are almost 45,000 employees working in the Washington state for Microsoft – with its headquarters in nearby Redmond.
“The restaurants will do less business; the shops will sell less stuff. That might be good. They can send their employees home. That’s great for not spreading the virus; it’s terrible if you’re an employee desperately looking for work hours,” said Mark Hallenbeck, an urban policy professor at the University of Washington.
All employees who are able to work from home and reside in their Puget Sound area offices, near Seattle, and in California’s Bay Area, should do so until 25 March, the company is recommending, Microsoft officials said.
Those employees who do decide opt come to office were asked by the company to “limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than 6fers away from others,” and restrict all meetings as short as possible.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)