Amazon has announced that it will be suspending its shipments temporarily in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic with the exception of medical supplies or “high-demand” products, according to the Independent. The suspension is expected to last at least through April 5.
"We are temporarily prioritising household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centres so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers," said an Amazon spokesperson.
"We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritise these products for customers," the spokesperson added.
Amazon saw a spike in their online shipments coming from people located all over the world as a result of the spreading coronavirus, causing many items to go out of stock, in particular those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as cleaning supplies.
Many of Amazon’s factories are in China, the country that has been hit that hardest by the virus. This has resulted in many of those factories being temporarily shut down or backlogged on shipments. China is slowly getting a handle on the pandemic and factories are expected to reopen in the coming weeks.
Independent merchants however will still have to make a decision on what to do with their products. Amazon has stated that they will accept products already en route to their warehouses and they will ship them out to shoppers as they arrive. As for all new products that have recently been purchased, they will have to remain on hold in China, for the time being.
Amazon predicted that they won’t be able to accept new products for at least the next three weeks.
The option for independent merchants to continue to see their products will remain available, they just won't be able to use Amazon’s warehouse facilities, and the search for independent warehouses to store their products will also slow down transactions. Amazon will notify sellers and vendors once it decides to return to business as usual.
On a more positive note, Amazon also announced that they would be hiring 100,00 new employees in the United States as a result of rapidly growing need for delivery services.
"We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the US in our fulfillment centres and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon's service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public," the company wrote in a statement on their website.
Employees currently working at Amazon will also receive a pay raise from now until April for working through the pandemic.