As the COVID-19 virus continues to rapidly spread, Amazon, the second-largest employer in the U.S. has further restricted travel among its employees.
Many of the major American tech firms have already severely clamped down on work-related travel between the U.S. and China, where the coronavirus outbreak first started. At present, 56 countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19; 15 individuals who have tested positive are currently in the US, according to the CDC.
Amazon is now asking that travel of all kind—not just to specific countries with larger outbreaks, but domestic travel too—be put on hold. “We’re asking employees to defer non-essential travel during this time,” an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNBC. The company announced today it would also be backing out of the San Diego-based Game Developers Conference, following Sony, Microsoft, Facebook, and others’ decision to do the same for health and safety reasons.
Around 798,000 people make up the staff of Amazon, putting them behind Walmart as the second-largest domestic employer. That scale also makes them one of the largest purchasers of corporate travel in the nation. It’s not clear at this time whether Amazon also sent this notice to the swaths of contractors that make up a not-insignificant portion of its labour force. We’ve reached out for comment and will update if we hear back.
Shortly after Amazon confirmed the restriction, Business Insider reported that Google would also be banning travel to, Iran, parts of Italy, South Korea, and Japan after an employee of the company tested positive for the virus.