With an understandable uptick in online shopping because the COVID-19 epidemic has forced much of the country indoors, Amazon is suspending sellers from sending non-essential products to U.S. and U.K. warehouses until April 5. It’s to free up the flow of inventory space for much-needed supplies that are in shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“In the short term, we are making the decision to temporarily prioritize 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,” the company said in a blog post linked to the shopping website’s front page.
“We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability of these essential products, and continue to bring on additional capacity to deliver customer orders.”
Amazon defined categories as “essential products” that will continue to be drop-shipped: Baby Products, Health & Household, Beauty & Personal Care, Grocery, Industrial & Scientific and Pet Supplies. “Drop shipping” means sellers import products from manufacturers and directly send them to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon earns fees from managing the storage and delivery process.
Amazon also noted it’s fighting price-gouging, especially on basic-need products during the pandemic, and has removed some items and blocked some shippers.
This news follows word that Amazon will open 100,000 new full and part-time positions in fulfillment centers — like the one on Boggy Creek Road in Orlando south of Orlando International Airport — and the delivery network across the U.S. to meet surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service while quarantined or self-isolated at home.