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Amazon, the e-commerce giant, became the default retailer for many consumers at the pandemic height. Many shoppers turned to Amazon first for protection products like hygiene essentials, household products, and groceries. With the rise of the pandemic, more people ordered office supplies and fitness gear for indoor convenience.
Despite the reports of widespread unemployment in the U.S., Amazon kept hiring. The company got more than 175,000 new warehouse and delivery workers from March and mid-April to work on orders. The company had 36,400 people in three months, increasing the headcount to 34% over the year with 876,800 employees.
The increased orders caught Amazon off guard initially that they struggled to meet their promised delivery schedules as part of their $119 annual membership fee. CEO Jeff Bezos realized early on in the pandemic that the coronavirus affected Amazon’s operations. “The current crisis is demonstrating the adaptability and durability of Amazon’s business as never before, but it’s also the hardest time we’ve ever faced,” he mentioned last April.
Amazon announced to its millions of third-party sellers that products such as hand sanitizers and paper towels would take prominence in their warehouses since those products were in high demand. Last April, Amazon started taking orders for nonessentials, although the company limited them in a few quantities.
The company encountered intense public scrutiny because of its treatment of warehouse workers throughout the coronavirus crisis. The warehouses’ workers argued that Amazon didn’t take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety from the virus. They proceeded to pick, pack, and ship out orders at a demanding pace. Many lawmakers, regulators, worker rights groups, and some of Amazon’s corporate employees called for the company’s attention to do something and take responsibility for their workers’ safety.
The company mentioned that they implemented more than 150 process updates in their warehouses to stem virus transmission. Amazon said they employed Measures such as enhanced cleaning and social distancing and wearing of masks. It also initiated testing for the coronavirus among its workers and tested workers at nearly a dozen warehouses in July. Amazon faces the probability of new coronavirus outbreaks in the coming months, making Bezos’ hope to conduct “regular testing of all Amazonians” more essential.