As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread through the state of Washington, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook have advised their Seattle area employees to work from their homes for the next few weeks.
The announcements were made following the new orientation of health officials in the state of Washington that instructs all workplaces to take measures to allow employees to work remotely.
“Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with Covid-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness,” said the statement published Wednesday, using the official title of the new coronavirus disease.
As of Thursday, the state had reported 70 cases of the virus, with a total of 10 deaths; Most cases are in King County, which includes Seattle.
Amazon sent an internal message on Wednesday night to all employees in the area, recommending that if they can work from home, do so until the end of March.
“Every team is different and not all work can lead to work from home, so talk to your manager and your team to set expectations for working remotely,” said the message obtained by The Guardian.
On Tuesday, Amazon revealed that one of its employees in Seattle tested positive for the coronavirus. According to an internal message from Amazon Human Resources, the person went home after feeling bad on February 25 and has since kept out of the technology company’s offices. According to reports, the employee is currently in quarantine.
The mega corporation, based in Seattle, has also suspended all non-essential trips in the US. UU. And abroad.
After a Facebook contractor based in the company’s Seattle office contracted coronavirus, the social media giant opted to close the office for the rest of the week. The person reportedly visited the office for the last time on February 21.
Facebook is also encouraging its employees in the Seattle area to work from home until the end of the month.
“We have notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize the health and safety of all,” said Tracy Clayton, a spokeswoman for the Facebook company, in a statement.
Amazon has more than 45,000 employees on an extensive corporate campus in downtown Seattle. And although Facebook has about 5,000 employees in the Seattle area, Microsoft reported about 54,000 workers in the state of Washington, where it is based in nearby Redmond.
Thousands of employees potentially working from home could have a big impact in Seattle, said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center. With so many employees working remotely, traffic congestion will surely improve, but there will probably also be a negative economic effect.
“Restaurants will do less business; stores will sell fewer things, “Hallenbeck said.” That could be good. They can send their employees home. That’s great for not spreading the virus, it’s terrible if you’re an employee looking desperately for hours of work. “
Most coronavirus infections cause mild symptoms, but for some at higher risk, including the elderly and people with chronic diseases, it can cause more serious problems. Authorities think the virus spreads mainly through coughs or infected surfaces.
Microsoft officials said in a statement Wednesday that the company recommends all employees in their offices in the Puget Sound area, near Seattle, and in the California Bay Area, who can work from home, do so until March 25
The company also instructed employees to keep coming to the office to “limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than 6 feet / 1.8 meters away from others” and keep all meetings in person as short as possible. .
Facebook has also been working to help spread accurate information related to the virus on its social media platform, while keeping the wrong information at bay. Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Tuesday that when someone searches for coronavirus on Facebook, it will be directed to the World Health Organization or a local health agency with timely information about the virus. According to reports, they have also sent free ads to WHO.
The company said it continues to eliminate publications that are considered false claims and conspiracy theories and has been blocking people who publish ads about products that claim to cure the virus.
“It is important that everyone has a place to share their experiences and talk about the outbreak, but as the standards of our community make clear, it is not right to share something that puts people in danger,” says the post.
Worldwide, more than 96,500 people have contracted coronavirus, while more than 3,300 have died, according to Reuters. Most of the deaths were in China, but Italy and Iran have also seen dozens of deaths.