When social distancing ends and day-to-day life starts to resemble itself again, could the workplace start testing for the coronavirus?
It’s an interesting theory that seems to have started to take shape. Bob Iger recently told Barron’s that places like Disney could implement stronger restrictions after the coronavirus pandemic by taking people’s temperatures before allowing them to enter parks. In the workplace, regular testing could happy as well, at a place like Amazon.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that regular testing should be done in every industry to keep people safe and help get the economy back to where it was. In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos said he’s assembled a team to create new tools to test for COVID-19, which would be done on “small numbers” of employees in the near future.
“We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant time frame, but we think it’s worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn,” Bezos said.
These measures come after Amazon has been dealing with multiple positive coronavirus cases at its facilities across the US including in New York, Florida, Michigan, and California. Employees started an online petition calling for increased safety measures as they continue to work through the pandemic.
The e-commerce giant also underwent a hiring surge at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in order to meet the demands of its consumers. Amazon has hired around 200,000 new employees, according to CNN.
Bezos also said Amazon has upped safety measures at Whole Foods Market stores by providing teams with face masks and temperature checks. Regular sanitization has also taken place, while he’s embraced social distancing in the workplace by eliminating stand-up meetings during shifts, staggering break times, and other measures.
“A next step in protecting our employees might be regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms,” said Bezos. “Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running.
“For this to work, we as a society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available. If every person could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we fight this virus. Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence.”