Why is warehousing/fulfillment considered essential during the pandemic?

Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from one of the fans who entered our giveaway contest for an Echo Show 5. Today we will answer the following question: “why is warehousing and fulfillment considered essential during the pandemic?”

Why warehousing and fulfillment is considered an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic

In the month of March alone, over half of the states in the United States and three-quarters of the population were under some form of stay-at-home order. In states like New York, only essential businesses continued operating. If you look through their entire list, you’ll find a long list of businesses classified as essential. Warehousing and fulfillment is among them.

Statewide stay-at-home orders are saving lives by forcing people to practice social distancing. But you can’t just turn off the economy like a light switch. This is not merely because of revenues and bottom lines. No, rather, medical supplies still need to be manufactured and shipped. So does food. That means the supply chain – including manufacturing, logistics, transportation, order fulfillment, and delivery – still has to run, no matter what. Lives depend on it.

Even when not shipping food and medical supplies, supply chain operations are the backbone of the economy. It keeps businesses in business. Grocery stores, banks, utility companies, hospitals, hotels, gas stations, auto repair shops, funeral homes, law enforcement – all of these basic functions in society – require a steady flow of supplies.

How warehouses can keep their workers safe from COVID-19

That said, “essential” doesn’t mean “invincible.” It is intrinsically risky to keep a business running during a time like this, no matter how clear the need may be. Every warehouse must keep its workers safe. This is non-negotiable.

While we can’t speak for other companies, here are some things we are doing to keep our workers safe:

  • We have a disinfecting crew come in every night in hazmat suits to clean all our buildings.
  • All workers must maintain six feet of social distance from one another to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
  • All workers must wash their hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • If anyone has any symptoms that even remotely resemble COVID-19, they are required to stay at home for the safety of others.

All of these have proven to be effective ways to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, per CDC and WHO guidelines. It’s likely that we will implement additional safety measures by the time you read this post as well.

We encourage everyone – our partners, our peers, and, indeed, our competitors – to follow these safety guidelines. Every company has a part to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Final Thoughts

Warehousing and fulfillment is necessary to keeping society operational. Not only is warehousing and fulfillment essential for the delivery of food and medical supplies, but also for the smooth operation of every single other essential business. As such, companies like ours have a responsibility not just to continue shipping, but to do so while keeping our workers safe.

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