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Will coronavirus case at warehouse delay orders?

When Amazon briefly closed a delivery center after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, it raised the question: Can the shutdown of a single warehouse delay how quickly anxious customers get their orders?

Given the size of Amazon’s delivery network, the simple answer is, probably not.

Amazon’s delivery station in Queens, New York, which was back in operation Thursday after undergoing a deep cleaning, is one of more than 150 that the company runs in the U.S.

In a system that includes fulfillment centers where boxes are packed and sorted, the stations are the last links in the delivery chain, ferrying packages the final mile to customers’ homes.

“Given the significant warehouse square footage footprint that Amazon has amassed, disruption to its supply chain isn’t a major concern due to one facility temporarily going offline,” says Tim Lefkowicz, supply chain expert and senior managing director at AArete, a global consulting firm. “It would have to shutter 15% (of its space) for many weeks on end to significantly disrupt its business in the eyes of its customers. And it isn’t likely to happen.”

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