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Coronavirus: Amazon suspends shipments of nonessential products to warehouses

Amazon will stop receiving “nonessential products” in its warehouses in the U.S. and U.K. amid the coronavirus pandemic in order to make extra room for high-demand supplies that are currently in short supply, Reuters reports.

The categories deemed essential products are grocery, baby products, beauty and personal care, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies. The supply changes will remain in place until April 5.

Amazon said in a note to sellers that household staples and medical supplies are running out, Reuters reported, and it wants to prioritize these items to be able to “quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

An Amazon spokesperson told Digital Trends “We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”

The changes will be in effect from March 16 until April 5. Any sellers that don’t have products in these categories will be unable to restock on Amazon until after April 5, Reuters reported. But, any products they have that are already in on on their way to Amazon’s warehouses can and will be shipped out to customers as usual. Vendors and sellers will also be alerted when protocol reverts to normal.

Amazon Warehouse
Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images

Amazon announced on Monday that it would be hiring 100,000 new workers and increasing wages in the U.S. by $2 an hour, up from its usual rate of $15 an hour, through the end of April.

Amazon orders have shot up dramatically since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and many items related to hygiene have been repeatedly sold out. Many toilet paper brands are currently out of stock on the website, marked unavailable until the end of month, or massively marked up. As quarantines, recommendations for social distancing, and work from home orders become more widespread, so too have online ordering and the demand for fast product delivery, if for nothing else than soap, hand sanitizer, and face masks.

Increased ordering volumes has also led to increased demands on workers, who have been circulating an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, demanding better worker protections, not just more pay. Bezos has been under pressure from several sides from his workers, especially in regard to community health and climate change.

Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service, has been experiencing delays, according to GeekWire, and Amazon has struggled to keep its supply chain from breaking down while China is in lockdown mode, the New York Times reported.

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Maya Shwayder
I'm a multimedia journalist currently based in New England. I previously worked for DW News/Deutsche Welle as an anchor and…
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