Amazon has temporarily closed one of its warehouses in Robbinsville after an increase in asymptomatic coronavirus cases just as the holiday shipping season reaches its peak, according to a company spokeswoman.

The closure of the sorting facility designated as PNE5, expected to last until December 26, will not have an impact on the shipment of packages, Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski told New Jersey 101.5. The Robbinsville fulfillment center, designated as EWR4, is open as usual. Both facilities are located in an industrial park off Route 195 near the New Jersey Turnpike but are not next to each other.

Levandowski said Amazon's in-house testing program detected an increase in the number of asymptomatic positive cases, leading to the temporary closure out of an abundance of caution.

"Employees will be paid for any shifts they will miss," Levandowski said

Levandowski would not say how many employees tested positive in Robbinsville or if other New Jersey facilities were affected.

“The pandemic will continue making the rules until the vaccines are available to everyone” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said in a statement. “We rely not only on our frontline workers, but also those at Amazon and other distribution centers who have been packing, sorting and safely delivering us the goods we use every day. The supply chain is incredible important, and we will continue working with all of our partners in the private sector to keep people as safe as possible. We wish all of those workers impacted a very speedy recovery."

Amazon said in October on its website that it was building its own testing lab in order to conduct 50,000 tests as day at 650 sites.  Nearly 20,000 workers tested positive between March 1 and September 19, according to a company statement. Amazon said the number is 42% lower than the national rate of infection in the United States and only 1.44% of its employees.

The company says it supplies masks and gloves said it has invested in thermal cameras, thermometers, disinfectant spraying in buildings, increased janitorial teams, additional handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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