Amazon reopens warehouses that were closed to protect them from looting

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    Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Images

    Amazon is set to reopen two of its warehouses in the Midwest after it temporarily closed the facilities due to escalating civil unrest in the area. 

    On Tuesday, Amazon temporarily shuttered two delivery stations in Chicago, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana, as protests erupted nationwide over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. The anger in response to Floyd’s killing resulted in clashes with police and looting in several cities. 

    Amazon moved to close the Gary facility, known as DIN2, after it received reports that trailers were damaged outside of the building late Monday night, an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC. It’s unclear if any merchandise was stolen from the trailers or if any arrests were made as a result of the damaged trailers. 

    There was no damage to the Chicago facility, known as DCH1. Both were closed to protect employees and partners, the company said. 

    The facilities will reopen Wednesday in time for the night shift to begin at 8 p.m. CT.

    “We are monitoring the situation closely and have adjusted routes or scaled back typical delivery operations in the affected areas to ensure the safety of our teams,” the spokesperson said. 

    The company’s delivery stations are smaller than its fulfillment centers, and are solely responsible for sorting and preparing packages for the last-mile delivery. Unlike fulfillment centers, which employ thousands of people, delivery stations may have hundreds of employees. 

    On Sunday, Amazon sent a notice to its network of Flex drivers and delivery service providers advising them to stop delivering packages “immediately.” The notices went out to drivers in more than a dozen cities, including Minneapolis, New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles and Miami. Many of the cities announced curfews as a result of growing civil unrest. 

    In that notice, Amazon said it had closed delivery locations “near the activity” and would reopen those locations when it has confirmed it is safe to do so. Additionally, some cities have tailored shifts available to Flex drivers around curfew times, so as to give drivers enough time to return home before curfews begin.