Amazon has its hands full. From trying to get basic necessities into the hands of people nationwide and worldwide, to prioritizing categories among its sellers, to coping with its own Coronavirus outbreaks among employees while simultaneously looking to add tens of thousands of workers, now more than ever before brands and retailers need to step up and fill the void.
As the impact of Coronavirus continues to take hold, Amazon just announced that it will stop shipping non-essentials in Italy and France in an effort to be able to maintain “social distancing” rules within its warehouses. At least five workers at Amazon warehouses in Europe have tested positive for coronavirus, and workers at an Amazon warehouse in Italy went on strike March 17th to protest inadequate action by the company to protect them from being exposed to the infection.
Here in the U.S., we are likely moments from this same outcome. According to this recent piece, four Democratic U.S. senators on Friday expressed concern in a letter to Jeff Bezos that the company has not provided enough support to warehouse staff during the coronavirus outbreak. While the company responded saying the protections are adequate, New York City reported the first Amazon Covid-19 case in America in a Queens warehouse facility just days ago.
It’s my view that Amazon workers on the frontlines are to be commended for stepping up and helping consumers get critical items when they are unable to leave their homes, facing the risk of their own infection. However, Amazon’s re-focus has also left a massive gap for consumers who have been conditioned to buy and receive everything they need on Amazon in a day or two.