C.H. Robinson asks Seattle employees to telecommute as coronavirus spreads

Seattle logistics hub

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Seattle creeps ominously upward, C.H. Robinson (CHRW) has asked all employees in the local office to work from home. The logistics company directive dovetails with King County officials’ Wednesday recommendation that employees of Seattle companies work at home to halt the spread of COVID-19.

“Throughout the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the safety and security of our employees and their families continues to be our main priority,” C.H. Robinson said in an emailed statement Thursday.

“We are exercising an abundance of caution and are asking all Seattle employees to work from home per the recommendation from public health officials in King County, WA.”

Spokesperson Kristin Marchiafava declined to reveal how many employees work in the Seattle office. But C.H. Robinson is not the only Puget Sound logistics company impacted by the spread of the virus in Seattle, which has emerged as the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

On Tuesday, Amazon (AMZN) announced that an employee had tested positive for the coronavirus and on Wednesday the e-giant advised employees not to come into the office.

“We are recommending that employees in Seattle/Bellevue who are able to work from home do so through the end of the month,” an Amazon spokesperson told FreightWaves.

A spokesperson for Convoy, the digital freight solutions startup headquartered in Seattle, said the office remains open but the company is following the King County guidance on telecommuting. All local events with ten or more people will be conducted virtually or cancelled. 

“Our top priority is the wellbeing of our employees during this challenging time,” the spokesperson said. “The nature of this infection is still being understood and our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our team to do their jobs effectively, responsibly and safely.”

Convoy’s Atlanta office remains open. The company is monitoring the situation and according to the spokesperson will reflect local health guidance “as appropriate.”

Washington state has reported the largest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. Health officials as of Thursday afternoon had reported at least 70 confirmed cases. Ten people in the state have died from the virus, while 231 remain under supervision.

C.H. Robinson remains “fully operational” globally, according to the emailed statement. “Our people around the world are working hard to continue to deliver goods and help people who are impacted by this situation. They are leveraging our technology and global infrastructure to continue to support both our customers and contract carriers.”

This is a developing story.