Amazon says it has temporarily stopped taking orders on some non-essential products on its sites in Italy (amazon.it) and France (amazon.fr) as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“As customers use e-commerce to support their social distancing efforts, we too have implemented social distancing guidance within our fulfillment centers to keep our employees safe and healthy,” a spokesperson for Amazon in Italy said in an emailed statement to The Verge. Customers can still order many of these products from third-party sellers who are able to ship directly to customers, the spokesperson added. Essential products would include food and hygiene items, he said.
The company says the measure will allow “fulfillment center associates to focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time.”
A notice on Amazon.it on Saturday read: “We are prioritizing the most requested products and some items may be temporarily unavailable. We appreciate your understanding at this time when we prioritize the products that customers need most. All orders already confirmed will be delivered regularly.”
At least five workers at Amazon warehouses in Europe have tested positive for coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Italy went on strike March 17th to protest what they saw as inadequate action by the company to protect them from infection.
Italy has been one of the areas hardest-hit by the coronavirus with more than 53,000 people infected and more than 4,800 dead, according to the New York Times. On Saturday alone, the country reported its largest single-day increase in infections, with 793 new cases.