Amazon says its Prime delivery service is experiencing delays, and it’s running out of stock on some household staples due to the coronavirus outbreak, CNBC reports.
The company said in a blog post that the problems are due to a “dramatic increase in the rate that people are shopping online,” leading to “delivery promises [that] are longer than usual.” Amazon added that it was “working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders.”
It’s not clear how much of the slowdown is due to employees opting not to come to work; as CNBC notes, Amazon made temporary changes to the attendance policy for its warehouse workers, offering them unlimited unpaid time off for the rest of March.
Amazon has tried to curb coronavirus-related abuse on its platform, removing millions of products for making false coronavirus claims, as well as removing hundreds of thousands of listings over price gouging and banning sellers who jacked up prices on high-demand items like face masks and hand sanitizer. The company has offered two weeks of pay to employees put into quarantine or diagnosed with the coronavirus, including its part-time warehouse workers.
It also established a relief fund to help support its contractors and gig workers affected by the coronavirus. Amazon’s independent delivery service partners, Flex delivery drivers, and other seasonal employees can apply for grants “approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay” if diagnosed with the coronavirus or put into quarantine. Amazon made an initial contribution of $25 million into the Amazon Relief Fund.