Amazon and other big companies are trying to keep their employees healthy by banning business trips, but they’ve dealt a gut punch to a travel industry already reeling from the virus outbreak.
The Seattle-based online retail giant has told its nearly 800,000 workers to postpone any non-essential travel within the United States or around the globe. Swiss food giant Nestle told its 291,000 employees worldwide to limit domestic business travel and halt international travel until March 15. French cosmetics maker L’Oréal, which employs 86,000 people, issued a similar ban until March 31.
Other companies, like Twitter, are telling their employees worldwide to work from home. Google gave that directive to its staff of 8,000 at its European headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday.
Major business gatherings, like the Geneva International Motor Show and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, have also been canceled.
On Tuesday, Facebook confirmed it will no longer attend the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, which is scheduled to begin March 13. And the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank, announced they will replace their regular spring meetings in Washington — scheduled for mid-April — with a “virtual format.”
I travel for work all the time. There are so many things you can catch that suck and are not the coronovirus that it doesn’t even make my top 10 worries about travel. But the positions of these companies are understandable. None of them wants to be sued when an employee dies from a virus outbreak because he/she “had to travel for work.”