Our only effective defense against the novel coronavirus is staying at home, which leads to an unprecedented impact on the economy, but also on logistics. With a lot of people confined to their apartments, it's no wonder that Amazon is experiencing an influx of orders, a lot of which include essential goods like groceries, health and household items, baby products, and more. To help get these items to people in need as soon as possible, the company has announced that it will stop shipping non-essential items in Italy and France, which are among the hardest-hit countries.
In a statement to Reuters, Amazon said, "We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on Amazon.it and Amazon.fr. This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time." The company considers "baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products."
Customers in the affected areas can continue ordering non-essential items from third-party retailers that don't use Amazon's logistics for shipping, but the company warns they will still have to wait for their orders longer than usual. Some non-essential products from Amazon itself or from any third-party sellers that use Amazon's infrastructure for shipping can't be ordered at all right now, though.
The action is sensible in the current situation, and I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon expanded it to other European countries and the US in the near future. Let's hope people in the affected areas quickly receive needed goods and French Amazon employees' working conditions are improving following the reduced amount of incoming and outgoing products.