The Nike North American Logistic Campus in Frayser was closed abruptly Thursday afternoon after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple sources confirmed today.
Even as Nike closed retail stores on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the massive warehouse had remained open, workers said. Hand sanitizer, masks and gloves were available and workers were instructed to practice as much social distancing as possible.
But Thursday afternoon, a manager convened Nike employees and temp workers together for a meeting, said multiple sources who were present.
The manager “called everyone that was there to the middle of the floor and said they would be closing down immediately because someone had tested positive for COVID-19,” said one of the workers who was present.
The manager told the Nike employees they would be paid for the time off and gave them a hotline number to call for more information. Temporary workers were told to contact their manager at the temporary agency.
Late Thursday afternoon, temporary workers received a text message from a temporary agency that supplies workers to Nike, saying that the facility was closed. “All shifts are cancelled until further notice,” it read. “We will send notification when it is time to return for work.”
In a statement sent late Thursday, Nike said: “The health and safety of our team is always our first priority. We have temporarily closed one of our Memphis, TN, distribution facilities. During this period, we will be conducting a comprehensive disinfection process. We are targeting to reopen at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 5.”
The 2.8 million-square-foot facility on New Allen Road in Frayser opened in 2015 as Nike’s largest distribution center in the world. According to the Memphis Business Journal, 3,200 full-time employees worked there in 2019.
Nike operates two other facilities in Memphis; it was not clear if either of those facilities have been closed or when the Frayser warehouse would reopen.
On March 18, the Nike Foundation announced it would give $250,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank “to support communities where our employees live and work.”
Nike did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The Shelby County Health Department said it “does not release personally identifiable information about individual cases, including occupation or workplace, unless it is required to protect public health.”
“We do encourage organizations to issue a release when appropriate, and many of the big employers have done so, including St. Jude, Kroger, etc.”