Amazon is suspending all shipments of non-essential items to its warehouses as the coronavirus crisis gets worse, according to a report by Business Insider. On Tuesday, the company announced that it is prioritizing medical supplies, household staples and other high-demand products for the global pandemic until April 5. This comes after a significant surge in orders during the recommended social-distancing period for many.
Amazon is reportedly blocking sellers from shipping products deemed non-essential to its warehouses for the next few weeks. The online retailer sent out an email to vendors on Tuesday, saying that it would only accept "high-demand products" due to the coronavirus crisis. "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 deliver these products to customers," the email read.
Amazon allows third-party sellers on its website to use its storage and delivery network for a fixed fee — a service known as Fulfillment by Amazon. According to the new announcement, users of the service will no longer be able to ship non-essential products to Amazon.
Thankfully, customers will still be able to order those products from Amazon for as long as they remain in the warehouses. However, if the product they are looking for sells out by April 5 they will have to wait.
The company gave sellers a list of six types of products that will still be accepted at fulfillment centers — baby products, health and household products, beauty and personal care products, groceries, industrial and scientific products and pet supplies. This will include personal care appliances.
"For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation," the memo read. "We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors. ...Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers."
Amazon has reported a huge increase in orders due to the recent social distancing recommendations around COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus. It noted that the surge has caused it to run out of stock of some highly important products, especially medical supplies. The company wants to prioritize those products in upcoming orders to make sure they will be available for customers who need them.
Already, the global pandemic has reportedly caused technical glitches, shipment delays and labor supplies all along Amazon's supply chain. The company is looking for solutions here as well — on Monday evening, it announced plans to hire 100,000 new workers to keep up with the rise in orders, and to to replace those who are avoiding crowded workplaces during the pandemic, according to a report by Fox News.
For the latest information on COVID-19 and best practices for minimizing its spread, consult the CDC's website.