Amazon fulfillment centers have been hit by high demand for supplies related to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 epidemic.
 - Warehouse file photo courtesy Amazon

Amazon fulfillment centers have been hit by high demand for supplies related to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 epidemic.

Warehouse file photo courtesy Amazon

A day after announcing it is hiring 100,000 more people, Amazon told sellers and vendors in the United States and European Union on March 17 that it is “temporarily prioritizing products coming into its fulfillment centers” to focus on household staples and medical supplies in high demand due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 epidemic. Sellers and vendors won't be able to ship goods not related to the epidemic through Amazon through April 5.

“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” the company said in an announcement to third-party sellers participating in the Fulfillment by Amazon program. “With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.

“For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.”

Most of the products Amazon is accepting at this time are in these categories.

  • Baby Products
  • Health & Household
  • Beauty & Personal Care (including personal care appliances)
  • Grocery
  • Industrial & Scientific
  • Pet Supplies

On March 16, Amazon announced it is opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in its fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon delivery.

As federal, state and local governments recommend and require that people stay home as much as possible, Amazon has been hit with high demand to deliver supplies of everything from toilet paper and hand sanitizer to activities to keep kids occupied while schools are closed.

“Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues,” it noted. “We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

In addition, Amazon said, it is adding an additional $2 per hour worked through April for employees.

“Health and safety are a top priority with all of our roles and sites. We continue to consult with medical and health experts, and take all recommended precautions in our buildings and stores to keep people healthy. We’ve taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and taken on enhanced and frequent cleaning, to name just a few.”

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