Now more than ever, Amazon’s fulfillment, delivery, and physical store networks play a critical role in serving customers. In these unprecedented times, we remain committed to the health and safety of our employees, partners, and the customers we serve.
“We’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies,” Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in a recent email to all employees. “We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. People are depending on us.”
We have adjusted our practices within our buildings through physical, virtual, and new formats for internal communications. With guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), we’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures at our sites around the world to help keep our employees, partners, and customers safe.
Amazon Fulfillment Centers, Sortation Centers, and Delivery Stations
Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we are committed to continue making adjustments to our business as we learn more.
We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas. We’re also requiring employees and delivery service partners to clean and disinfect their work stations.
We are consulting with health authorities and medical experts on how to handle building closures for deep cleaning, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Our process evaluates where the employee was in the building, for how long, how much time has passed since they were onsite, and who they interacted with, among other items, in determining whether we need to close. We also ask anyone at the site who was in close contact with the diagnosed individual to stay home with pay for 14-days in self-quarantine.
We’ve adjusted our practices so that our fulfillment center employees can maintain a safer distance from co-workers. This includes eliminating stand-up meetings during shifts. Instead, business-essential information is shared via white boards near main areas and through conversations with managers or HR team members. We’ve staggered shift start times and break times, spread out tables in the break rooms on site, and suspended exit screening to ensure ease of movement near main entrances. We’ve shifted trainings so we don’t have employees gathering in one spot, we’ve adjusted our hiring process to encourage social distancing, and we’ve paused hosting public guests in our buildings.
Employee communications include requirements that everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations are easily accessible throughout our buildings. In addition to break times, employees are invited to log out of their system to wash their hands whenever they choose, which has no impact on their performance.
With the closure of schools and childcare centers all over the world, we’re working with employees at our fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and delivery stations so they can stay connected with family. We’ve enabled a temporary cell phone process for those who need to be in contact with their families or childcare providers.
All hourly Amazon associates within our operations and delivery network in the U.S. will receive double their regular hourly base rate of pay for every overtime hour worked in a workweek from March 15, 2020 through May 9, 2020.
If any employee feels unwell, they must stay home and call their healthcare provider. All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of additional paid time off, so they can get healthy without worrying about lost income. If someone is diagnosed, we connect with any individual that had close contact with that person at the site to ask them to stay home for a 14-day paid quarantine period.
We have opened 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public.
Delivery Service Partners, Delivery Associates, and Flex Drivers
We’ve provided a detailed list of procedures for our network of delivery partners that are focused on their health and safety, and that of our customers.
At the start and end of routes, delivery associates and Flex delivery partners must use disinfectant wipes to clean all frequently touched surfaces in their vehicles and other work equipment, including things like keys, steering wheel, buttons, and delivery devices.
We’ve also instructed them to refrain from shaking hands or having any other physical contact with customers, and maintain a minimum one-meter distance from customers at all times.
We’ve asked that delivery associates and Flex delivery partners wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. They should use a tissue to cover a cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash, then wash their hands. Work uniforms (including work gloves) must be washed daily.
We’ve urged all delivery service partners and drivers to stay home if they feel sick or have a fever. They must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to work. And like we’re doing with all individuals, we are supporting people if they need time off.
Grocery Stores, Pickup, and Delivery
We are working quickly to deliver groceries and essential items to customers as fast as possible through Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, and Prime Now—while prioritizing the health and safety of our employees and customers. Our Whole Foods Market stores and Amazon Go Grocery store will remain open, providing vital goods for customers. Enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols are in place across all stores and facilities.
We have established social distancing guidelines in stores and have made hand sanitizer readily available for shoppers and team members, including for shopping carts and at checkout. We’ve also suspended all self-serve food offerings in our stores, and indoor and outdoor seating is unavailable until further notice.
We are temporarily adjusting Whole Foods Market store hours to accommodate those that health agencies identify as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Customers age 60 and over in the U.S. and Canada, and age 70 and over in the UK, are invited to shop beginning one hour before the store opens to the general public, under the store’s new adjusted hours.
We are closing stores up to two hours early to give our team members more time to restock shelves, sanitize our stores, and rest in preparation for the next day. All part and full-time hourly Team Members at Whole Foods Market stores and facilities will receive double their regular hourly base rate of pay for every overtime hour worked in a workweek from March 16, 2020 through May 3, 2020.
To ensure the health and safety of Whole Food Market Team Members and customers during this critical time, we are suspending our current return policy and all sales are final unless there was a quality problem with the product at the time of purchase.
All team members placed into quarantine or diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive up to an additional two weeks of paid time off. If any team members are unable or unwilling to work a scheduled shift, they have unlimited call-outs during this time.
Supporting Our Associates, Delivery Service Partners, Drivers, and Whole Foods Market Employees
In addition to the 100,000 new roles we’re creating, Amazon and Whole Foods Market recognize that our employees are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be available to support them are closed. In the U.S., we will be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from our current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, C$2 in Canada, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada.
The Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution, will help support our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress. We are offering all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine by the government or Amazon.