The British luxury house Burberry has temporarily and indefinitely closed its lone American warehouse in Vineland, New Jersey after three workers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a Bloomberg report.
The Burberry warehouse, the only one in the United States, was operating as an “essential business” during the Covid-19 outbreak and was complying with health requirements: surgical masks for everyone, provision of disinfecting gels and wipes, division of workforce by three, etc.
“We have closely followed government and health authority guidelines and put in place measures aligned with these that are designed to help prevent the spread of the virus and ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. We have a confidential hotline for employees to share any concerns they may have. If anyone is uncomfortable for any reason, we are allowing them to stay home on full pay until further notice.” the company even said in a statement.
Despite the precautions taken by the brand, several employees at the factory had been worried about their working conditions for several weeks and no longer felt safe, claiming that social distancing was difficult to practice and that some equipment and tools were being shared.
Such concerns proved to be legitimate since last weekend a total of three workers tested positive for the virus, according to a memo sent to employees and viewed by Bloomberg News.
The plant, located in Vineland, New Jersey, 40 miles south of Philadelphia, has been forced to shut down abruptly and for an indefinite period of time.
While all Burberry stores across the country have been closed to contain the outbreak of coronavirus, employees at this single warehouse were still working to fill online orders. They were considered as “essential” employees meeting the requirements of an “essential” logistics activity set by the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy.
An extended closure of the warehouse, the British company’s gateway to the US market, would extend shipping times for buyers, a huge blow to the Burberry company, which had already reported that its sales could have dropped as much as 80 per cent in the last weeks of March, and that online orders were down significantly.
The company stated, however, that it had no intention of closing its US e-commerce site and that it would notify its customers in case of delays.
What is certain is that the coronavirus epidemic will have a significant financial impact on the British brand Burberry, which has been known for more than a century for its plaid scarves and trench coats, and on luxury retailing in general.
Headline photo: © Burberry / Facebook
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