Amazon’s COVID-19 response is lesson for local etailers on what not to do

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When it comes to responses to COVID-19 and caring for the welfare of employees, Amazon has left much to be desired. This as a seventh death resulting from the virus has been reported, while Amazon stubbornly refuses to disclose how many employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

With South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, yesterday allowing all ecommerce platforms in the country to sell any products they wish (except for alcohol and cigarettes), it will now bring the practices of etailers during this global pandemic into sharper focus.

Already, government has outlined specific steps what etailers must take at this time, and now it is up to these companies to adhere to them for the safety of its employees and customers alike.

Shifting back to Amazon, the aforementioned death happened at the firm’s warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

According to The Verge, the most worrying detail is that Amazon’s management only revealed the details of the death after rumours began swirling around the warehouse and workers pressed for more information.

“They weren’t going to say anything if it wasn’t for people asking questions,” an anonymous worker told the publication.

To date, Amazon has purposefully chosen not to disclose its statistics on COVID-19. In a recent 60 Minutes interview, the firm’s SVP for worldwide operations, Dave Clark, said those figures were, “Not a particularly useful number.”

Once details of the seventh employee death emerged, a company statement noted, “We are saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Indianapolis, IN.”

“His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues in the days ahead,” it adds.

As local etailers begin to ramp up business thanks to the newly gazetted level four lockdown regulations, they should take heed of the way Amazon has handled things, especially as its employees are now taking greater risks than ever in order to deliver goods to customers.

[Image – Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.