Amazon prioritizes medical supplies, household staples amid coronavirus fears

Earlier on Monday, the e-commerce giant had said that it would hire 100,000 temporary workers in the US to keep up with a crush of online demand

Amazon is gearing up to fight the deadly coronavirus. The company reportedly has asked its third-part merchants in the United States and European Union marketplace that it is temporarily prioritizing stocking up medical supplies, household staples and other necessary following an increase in demand for such items since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

Earlier on Monday the company said that it will be hiring around 100,000 workers for its warehouses and delivery options in the US. The decision is in a bid to keep up with a crush of online demand as coronavirus fears continue to spread and is keeping more people at home. The e-commerce giant also said that it will temporarily increase pay through April for employees who work on an hourly basis in its facility and delivery centers and Whole Foods stores.

What does the change mean?

Amazon Facility Center
Goods being packaged ahead of delivery at an Amazon Facility Center

Amazon has asked its third-party merchants that it is "temporarily prioritizing" stocking up medical supplies and household staples following a surge in demand for such products following the coronavirus outbreak. According to Wall Street Journal, the change went into effect on Tuesday. "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," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

The change is applicable only to United States and European Union marketplace. Per the change, the company will now be taking in household staples and medical supplies before other products. This also means that third-party sellers on Amazon who don't sell these kinds of items may now see delays when they send their products to Amazon fulfillment centers.

However, sellers will be able to continue relying on Amazon to sell and ship all inventories that currently are in the company's fulfillment centers. The company said that the decision was taken so that it can "more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers."

A different kind of pressure

Amazon strike
A n American Express credit card is held in front of an Amazon logo in this picture illustration taken September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Amazon is facing a different kind of pressure following the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has made many stay in the confines of their home in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. This has led many to shop online, which has increasingly been building pressure on the company despite having a strong delivery muscle.

Given this situation, the e-commerce giant on Monday said that it was planning to hire 100,000 temporary workers at it fulfillment centers and delivery options in the United States. The company also said that it will increase the pay of workers by $2 per hour through the end of April in the United States. The company presently pays $15 per hour for entry-level jobs at its fulfillment centers. Additionally, it will also temporarily increase pay by £2 per hour in the UK and 2 euros per hour in the EU countries.

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