Amazon is taking dramatic steps to prioritize orders in areas hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online retailer, Amazon told Reuters in a statement that it would temporarily stop taking orders for “some non-essential products” in France and Italy to help its warehouses focus on more vital deliveries.
The company didn’t say just what it was stopping, but it believes essentials include groceries, health products, household items, personal care, industrial goods, scientific products and pet supplies.
The move reflected a spike in demand from people staying at home, according to Amazon.
It also reflected a need to respect anti-coronavirus safety precautions, the company said.
The restrictions only affect sales fulfilled through Amazon.
You can still buy non-essentials through Amazon in France and Italy if they’re fulfilled through third parties.
The company, days earlier restricted supply deliveries to its US and European warehouses.
Now, the company is outright limiting customers’ options. Not that it necessarily had much choice.
Coronavirus infection rates have been disproportionately high in France and Italy, prompting effective lockdowns.
If Amazon and other online retailers can’t cope with the volume of orders, daily life in affected countries could suffer.
Amazon to hire 100,000 workers to meet Coronavirus demand
Earlier, Amazon hired an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US.
This unexpected surge in demand had prompted the online retailer to make plans to hire 100,000 additional warehouse employees.
The company increased pay for US workers by $2 per hour through the end of April.
Those in the UK will see a £2 per hour increase, and Amazon boosted pay by approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries.
The company said the pay bump represents an investment of over $350 million across the US, Europe and Canada.
The online retailer looked to fill both full- and part-time positions, and it says it’s happy to take anyone who has lost their job in the hospitality, food service and travel industries as a part of this crisis.