In brief: Many companies are responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by closing down locations, telling workers to stay home, and generally scaling back their business temporarily. Amazon, on the other hand, will do the exact opposite. To keep up with vastly increased demand, the retail behemoth will be hiring an astounding 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers throughout the US.
You read that right: 100,000. At a time when much of the world is seeking to avoid working, we're not entirely sure how successful Amazon's hiring push will be, but regardless, it certainly speaks to the severity of this outbreak. As more families and individuals opt to stay home and avoid population-dense locations like supermarkets and malls, they're clearly looking to delivery services to fill the void. This, in turn, is putting quite a bit of strain on Amazon and its competitors.
To entice more employees to sign on for the physically and mentally-taxing labor that comes with working in an Amazon warehouse, the company will be raising hourly pay by $2, £2, or €2, depending on where you live. This pay raise will run through to the end of April, and, all told, it represents a planned expenditure of $350 million.
In addition to supporting increased demand for its own service, Amazon hopes this hiring push will help those in COVID-19-affected industries, like food service and hospitality. Though they may have been temporarily dismissed due to store or restaurant closures, Amazon is happy to bring them on board.
If you're wondering how the company will keep its tens of thousands of employees healthy and protected from COVID-19, we don't have much information for you. Aside from saying it continues to "consult with medical and health experts" and take "all recommended precautions" in its buildings and stores, Amazon did not elaborate on any of its specific COVID-19 prevention strategies.
Nonetheless, it's in the company's best interest to mitigate the spread of this virus in its warehouses, so we assume they have some pretty sophisticated precautions in place.