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Amazon's Kent facility testing new wearable social distancing device

The new device is part of the company's measures to better protect workers from contracting the novel coronavirus.

KENT, Wash. — Amazon began testing a new device at the fulfillment center in Kent Wednesday that will alert workers if they are not properly following social distancing rules, CNBC reports.

The device is part of the company's new measures to better protect workers from getting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The device is a clear plastic sleeve with a clip that is equipped with an LED light and audio system, CNBC reports. If workers get too close to one another, the device will let out loud beeping noises and begin to flash.

“Additionally, if we are ever notified of a COVID-19 diagnosis, the data captured from the devices of associates who had close contact can be used to conduct contact tracing," a memo seen by CNBC says.

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Employees at the facility can decide whether or not they want to wear the device. Workers that choose to use the wearable device can pick them up at the start of their shift, and then return them at the end of their shift. An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC that the company will use feedback from employees testing the device "to continue to iterate."

On Tuesday, Amazon announced another safety measure called the "Distance Assistant” that is being used at other company facilities across the county to help enforce social distancing rules.

The technology uses a 50-inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device to let employees walking by know if they are properly social distancing in real-time.

The company said the device has depth sensors and gives live feedback letting workers know if they are too close.

Amazon has been criticized by warehouse workers and politicians for a slow response to keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Jeff Bezos and the company said they have taken "great lengths" to keep employees safe during the pandemic.

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