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Amazon to hire 800 more workers in Delaware

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Amazon will hire 800 more workers in Delaware to handle the rush of coronavirus-spurred orders, officials said. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Amid ballooning sales from home-bound customers during the coronavirus pandemic, the e-commerce giant Amazon is adding 75,000 more workers to its payroll nationwide, including 800 workers in Delaware, officials reported.

That hiring spree comes on the back of the hiring of 500 workers to date in the crisis for its Middletown and New Castle fulfillment centers after initial only announcing that it would hire 150. The 1,300 jobs created would be by far the largest reported job offerings in Delaware amid the crisis, with those workers coming on top of Amazon’s pre-crisis state workforce of about 2,000 employees.

An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the roles are seasonal, but the company expects many could stay on in long-term roles even after the crisis subsides and economies slowly reopen.

The roles start with minimum pay of $17 per hour through the end of April, an increase of $2 per hour since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has found success filling hundreds of jobs with many of the more than 60,000 Delawareans who have lost their jobs in recent weeks due to the virus’s impact or government-mandated business closures in response.

“The new hires in Delaware fill a range of roles, including picking, packing, and shipping customer orders and delivering packages from delivery stations to meet the needs of the COVID-19 demand surge,” said Katelyn Chesley, an Amazon spokeswoman. “Many were impacted by layoffs related to COVID-19 and come from a variety of fields and life situations, including restaurant cooks, bartenders and servers, flight attendants, teachers, business owners, personal trainers, valet drivers, rideshare drivers, retirees, part-time workers whose jobs are now on hold, and people ‘who just wanted to help out.’”

It remains to be seen whether the company will have difficulty competing for job applicants with unemployment claims now adding in $600 a week from the federal stimulus package, pushing some unemployment insurance recipients to a wage level of $25 an hour. Amazon noted that new hires will get the company’s generous health benefits on day one, including two-times base pay for overtime and paid time off benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees.

Amazon is also taking precautions in light of COVID-19, including cleaning its warehouses more frequently and holding job interviews through video conferencing. All employees are required to sanitize and clean their workstations and vehicles at the start and end of every shift with disinfectant wipes.

The company has also procured supplies such as masks for all employees and drivers and has implemented temperature checks for anyone entering its facilities.

Any employee who may test positive for COVID-19 will receive up to two weeks of pay while in quarantine. So far, Amazon has confirmed a small number of COVID-19 cases amid its Delaware workforce.

To apply for the new jobs, visit amazon.com/jobsnow.

By Jacob Owens

[email protected]

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