Amazon is telling employees at its Seattle HQ not to come into the office because of the coronavirus, as Washington becomes the worst-hit state in the US

  • Amazon told employees at its Seattle headquarters to work from home if they can for the rest of the month amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Amazon advised employees “who work in a role that can be done from home, do so starting now through the end of March.”
  • The guidance came the same day that the company alerted staff that an employee in the area had tested positive for the virus, but Amazon said that individual had not come to work since they started feeling sick.
  • Washington has become the state hit hardest by the coronavirus: The virus has killed 11 people in the US so far, 10 of which were in Washington. It has 39 cases of the virus.
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Amazon told employees in Seattle to avoid coming into their offices for the rest of the month, as Washington state emerged as the area of the US hit hardest by the coronavirus.

It came the same day the company confirmed that an Amazon employee in the area had tested positive for the virus.

Amazon issued the work-from-home guidance in an internal email on Wednesday, seen by The Seattle Times and GeekWire.

It said that any employee based in Seattle or nearby Bellevue who can work from home should do so until the end of March — a period of almost four weeks.

The email acknowledged that not everyone can easily work from home, and advised employees to talk to their managers to work out if it was practical for them to do so.

The message said: “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.”

FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Amazon boxes.
Reuters

The Guardian obtained a company internal memo earlier Wednesday that confirmed an employee had tested positive and said that any employees who worked physically near to that person had been notified.

That memo said that the employee went home sick on February 25, and had not returned to the company’s offices since.

It also said that the employee worked in an Amazon location called the Brazil Building, one of the more than 40 buildings that makes up the company’s Seattle headquarters.

It is separate from the building made up of three glass spheres that is the company’s most distinctive presence in the city.

amazon seattle
The spheres at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
Elaine Thompson/AP

Amazon’s guidance cited guidance from health officials in Washington state, the state hit hardest by the coronavirus.

The virus has killed 11 people in the US so far, 10 of which were in Washington. The state also has 39 cases, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Washington has declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus, as has California, which has recorded one death.

This means the states can receive emergency federal funding to battle the coronavirus.

Worldwide it has killed almost 3,300 people, the vast majority in China.

Facebook and Microsoft have given similar guidance to their employees in the city.

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