Major retailers are taking extra measures to respond to the nation’s COVID–19 virus outbreak.
Walmart, for example, instituted a new policy that allows ill employees additional flexibility to stay home from normal work hours. The company has also instituted an intense, daily sanitizing of stores including high traffic areas and shopping carts. It is diverting merchandise most in demand to regions hardest hit by the virus and limiting sales quantities for high-demand items to enable more shoppers to purchase them.
Seattle-based Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Relief Fund for small businesses surrounding its downtown Seattle headquarters. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenues will be eligible for some of the financial aid.
Amazon also is paying hourly employees who are working from home as part of a COVID-19 related policy. It noted that many of the small businesses that surround its downtown Seattle offices sprung up as Amazon grew and depend upon Amazon employees for their livelihoods.
“If Amazon were not to help support the businesses, by the time the work-from-home policy was lifted, many of these businesses could be gone,” the company reported in a blog.
Other tech companies such as Uber, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Google and Apple also have made commitments to pay hourly and other contingent workers impacted by reduced staffing requirements brought on by virus-related precautions.