• Amazon will stop shipping non-essential goods to buyers in Italy and France during the coronavirus outbreak, as it’s prioritizing the delivery of health and household staples.
  • France and especially Italy are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, with thousands of cases and hundreds of death having been confirmed in the past few days.
  • Separately, Amazon is looking to hire thousands of workers in the US, where its ready to pay double for overtime during the crisis.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon a few days ago suspended non-essential shipments from sellers in the US, UK, and Europe, as it shifted focus to health products and household goods. The company said at the time that it would still fill orders for low-priority products as long they’re still in stock at warehouses, but new stock will not be added until April 5th at the earliest. Over the weekend, news broke that Amazon would stop selling non-essentials to customers in Italy and France, two of the regions that have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon told Reuters that the company made the decision due to a spike in orders and the need to respect the various safety set in place in those countries to limit the spread of COVID-19.

With over 350,000 confirmed cases in the world, including more than 15,000 fatalities, the new disease is the biggest challenge the world has had to deal with in recent years. Italy is at the center of the pandemic right now, with nearly 60,000 cases and a fatality rate of almost 10%. France reported over 16,600 cases, including 675 deaths, since the local epidemic started. Both countries have taken severe social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus, including lockdowns, but Italy has been reporting thousands of new cases every day in the past few days.

“We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on Amazon.it and Amazon.fr,” Amazon said. “This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time.”

Goods, including baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies, are considered essential products, and these orders will continue to be honored in France and Italy. And it’s probably what Amazon will do in other regions of the world in the future.

Amazon said that buyers can still order non-essential products from sellers on Amazon that don’t rely on Amazon logistics for shipping, but those deliveries might take longer than usual.

Separately, Amazon on Saturday announced that it’s raising overtime pay for associates working in US warehouses, as it’s trying to meet the increased demand from buyers staying at home. Hourly workers will receive double the compensation after 40 hours for overtime from March 15th through May 9th.

“My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a message posted on the company website. Bezos also noted in the memo that he hoped people who lost their jobs at restaurants and bars would apply to work at Amazon until they’re able to go back to their previous jobs.

A week ago, Amazon increased the pay for workers from $15 to $17 and announced plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US. Amazon is also offering unlimited pay to workers who don’t feel well, and taken additional measures to increase social distancing at work, Reuters reports.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.