Amazon has temporarily suspended new shipments of all products by independent merchants unless the items are considered “high demand” like medical supplies and household cleaning products used to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to a report Tuesday by British news outlet The Independent.
The move appears to immediately affect small business and freelance sellers who rely on Amazon’s warehouses to store and ship products, and comes amid the widening shutdown of business channels due to the worldwide outbreak.
Amazon said products already on the way to its warehouses will be accepted and shipped out. But no new products will be accepted for the next three weeks, The Independent reports. Merchants can still sell products through Amazon but cannot use the company’s warehouses during the shutdown, according to The Independent.
Merchants who choose that route would need to find another warehouse to ship products. The suspension is planned to run through April 5.
The Independent reports that Amazon will prioritize products that could be used to combat the virus, like the cleaning supplies that have been continually sold out over the past few weeks.
“We are temporarily prioritizing 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,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Independent.
“We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers,” the spokesperson said.
Merchants will be notified by Amazon once it decides to return to its normal operations, according to The Independent.
Many U.S. vendors were already reeling after factories in China shuttered during the early weeks of the outbreak, but many have since reopened.
On Monday, the world's largest online retailer announced it would hire 100,000 new employees in the U.S. in response to the growing demand for its delivery services. The company is also giving its hourly employees a raise through April given their necessary services during the pandemic, The Independent reports.
— This is a developing story. Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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