Amazon pauses non-essential travel in U.S. due to coronavirus

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Nikol Szymul staffs a reception desk at Amazon offices discretely tucked into a building called Fiona in downtown Seattle, Washington on May 11, 2017.

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Amazon has started restricting all non-essential employee travel in the U.S. as the coronavirus continues to spread, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

“We’re asking employees to defer non-essential travel during this time,” the spokesperson said.

Dave Clark, who runs Amazon’s retail operations, told employees told hold off on planning group or team meetings that require travel until at least the end of April, when he estimated there will be a “better sense of the virus, its spread and impact,” according to The New York Times. 

In January, Amazon said it was restricting employee travel to China “until further notice” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The company also recommended that employees who are or expected to travel back from one of the affected provinces of China to work from home for two weeks. Amazon urged employees who experienced any symptoms to seek medical attention before returning to the office. 

It comes as the coronavirus, which is thought to have originated in China’s Hubei province, has continued to spread. At least 2,859 people have died from the disease, while total confirmed cases have risen to more than 83,700. The majority of confirmed cases are in China, but the disease has spread rapidly over the past week through South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Several major tech companies have also curtailed employee travel or canceled conferences scheduled for the coming months as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Facebook on Thursday announced it would cancel its annual F8 software developer conference, while Workday canceled its internal sales conference that was slated to kick off next week.

This story is developing. Check back for updates. 

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