Amazon is temporarily asking its suppliers to press pause on filling its fulfillment centers with non-essential items so that the focus can remain on household necessities as the demand continues to increase amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The company said that from Tuesday until April 5, it would be prioritizing things like household staples and medical supplies, which have been in high demand as more and more people self-isolate in their homes.
“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” an Amazon spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement. “With this in mind, 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.”
The initiative will not impact products being sent to customers, and ordered products already en route to fulfillment centers will be accepted.
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The change will mainly affect vendors and sellers behind the scenes, not customers, who will still be able to order whatever they want online.
“We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers,” the statement read.
An email from Amazon to sellers identified six main categories that will be prioritized: baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies, according to Business Insider.
The outlet reported that as coronavirus panic spreads, increased demand for those types of essentials had “put huge strains on Amazon’s supply chains, resulting in shipment delays, technical glitches and labor shortages.”
Amazon announced earlier this week that it would hire 100,000 new workers in its American fulfillment centers and delivery network to “meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time.”
The announcement said Amazon would welcome workers coming from jobs that have been impacted by the coronavirus, such as hospitality and restaurants, “until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”
In the same announcement, Amazon also said it would invest more than $350 million globally to increase wages, including an additional $2 an hour for U.S. workers.
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