MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Amazon Prime Day has become the new, unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
Millions of packages will be shipped out, but six feet is the number workers are expected to focus on inside Amazon facilities.
“No matter how busy we’re going to get, safety is going to be our top priority,” said Tyler Fagan, general manager of the Memphis Amazon Distribution Center.
Tuesday and Wednesday mark Amazon Prime Day 2020, where shoppers will be privy to some of the best deals of the year, ushering in the holiday shopping season well before the traditional Black Friday.
Ahead of the package surge, Amazon officials in Memphis invited WMC Action News 5 inside the Southeast Memphis distribution center to show us how they’ll maintain all their safety protocols throughout peak season.
Most importantly, it takes workers accepting extra responsibilities.
“Six months ago everyone’s job was very different,” Fagan said.
Dozens of employees are now social distance guardians. They observe workers and cameras to make sure six feet of social distance is maintained.
“It’s an everyday thing. Once you put it in your routine it becomes natural,” one social distance guardian said.
Employees have also stepped up to check body thermal cameras, screen all visitors and run a COVID-19 testing center on site.
“It’s self-testing. [Employees] come in and volunteer to be tested to make sure they’re safe when they’re walking through the building,” said Malique Jones, area manager.
Last week it came to light 20,000 Amazon workers in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19. Amazon officials said they do not report numbers locally, but have released statewide percentages.
In numbers provided by Amazon, no lump number is given, but it says about 18 of every 1,000 Amazon employees in Tennessee have tested positive. So just over 1.8 percent of all Amazon employees in the Volunteer State have tested positive for COVID-19.
In comparison, 2.6 percent of the state’s population has tested positive, according to Amazon’s numbers.