Employees at local manufacturer work from home after visit to Italian town under quarantine


ROBERTSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Several employees at a manufacturing company in Springfield are now working from home after returning from a business trip in Italy.

The Swedish company is Electrolux manufactures home appliances like washing machines and refrigerators.

A spokesperson told News 2 in a statement that several employees were on trips to Italy in towns that are now under a coronavirus quarantine.

“We have global operations and have implemented a travel ban to and from Italy. Employees who have visited one of the Italian towns currently under quarantine are working from home per public official guidance for 14 days following their return. We do not at this point have employees affected by the virus.”

-Spokesperson, Electrolux

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry told News 2 that Electrolux is the first self-quarantined case they’ve heard of in the state, but they are getting a lot of calls and questions as businesses grow increasingly concerned.

“We are starting to hear about the impacts, I suspect, if it continues, we will start to see things in Tennessee,” said the Chamber President Bradley Jackson.

“I can tell you employers take any public health threat very seriously, I think each year in the United States, 5 to 20% are impacted by the flu. The coronavirus is an interesting conversation. It has the capacity to disrupt a number of supply chains,” Jackson added.

Fed Ex Headquarters in Memphis recently announced suspending certain flights with China, which could drastically affect shipments here.

Even with no confirmed cases in the state, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry says we’ll still feel the effects.

“Anything that happens globally really does impact Tennessee operations,” Jackson explained, “We think the impacts could be obviously on air carriers, trucking, supply chain generally, so it can have a number of ripple effects.”

For now, companies like Electrolux are implementing their own travel bans to countries with coronavirus outbreaks.

The Tennessee Chamber adds that most companies have flu protocols they can follow.

“Flu happens each year, so employers generally are very familiar with situations that they may encounter with sickness and illness,” Jackson said, “We are optimistic that if we’re vigilant and look out for it, and just be prepared that we will make it through it.”

Thursday, the Dow Jones plummeted more than 1,000 points amid coronavirus uncertainty.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also both plunged by more than 4%.

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