Amazon suspends all shipments to warehouses except medical products

The e-commerce giant is also hiring 100,000 additional employees to meet the growing demand for its delivery services.

Amazon fulfilment center in Sosnowiec, Poland on 13 May, 2019. The fifth Amazon fulfilment center in Poland is built in the Upper Silesia region. The property totalling 135,000 sqm is built on a 21-hectare site near Panattoni Park Sosnowiec. Amazons fulfilment centre in Sosnowiec is adapted to the high-bay storage system and dedicated to the distribution of shoes and clothes in Western Europe. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Amazon has temporarily halted non-essential warehouse shipments from independent suppliers as a result of the novel coronavirus.

The temporary suspension will extend through April 5 as Amazon prioritizes shipping out medical and other products critical to combating the potentially deadly disease.

“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 told the Independent.

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The spokesperson said Amazon realizes this is inconvenient for its selling partners but needed to make this move to ensure people get critical supplies as quickly as possible.

The newest Amazon Robotics fulfillment center is seen during its first public tour on April 12, 2019 in the Lake Nona community of Orlando, Florida. The over 855,000 square foot facility opened on August 26, 2018 and employs more than 1500 full-time associates who pick, pack, and ship customer orders with the assistance of hundreds of robots which can lift as much as 750 pounds and drive 5 feet per second. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers,” the spokesperson added.

The e-commerce giant will allow products currently en route to its warehouses to be shipped out but will shut off any new, non-essential products from going out until at least April 5. However, Amazon is still giving its sellers the right to sell their items through Amazon if they can do so without using Amazon warehouses to ship.

The decision comes as Amazon experienced a drastic increase in global shopping as a result of the novel coronavirus. Many items – such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper and other essentials – quickly went out of stock.

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In other Amazon news, the company announced Monday that it will hire 100,000 new U.S. employees to meet the growing demand for its delivery services, according to a company post. The new hires will work out of Amazon fulfillment centers and within its delivery network.

“We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the US in our fulfillment centers 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,” Amazon explained in the post.

The company announced it is also increasing its hourly pay in the U.S. through April by $2 an hour from the current $15/hour or more.