Coronavirus: Amazon Steps Up Efforts As Demand Surges

In a statement, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company was hiring for 100,000 new roles as well as raising wages of hourly workers who are working at this crucial time to help fulfill orders and deliver to customers.

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By Debroop Roy


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At a time when the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is forcing businesses to stay shut and several others to cut down on staff, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has asked laid-off employees to come join the e-commerce giant.

In a statement, Bezos said the company was hiring for 100,000 new roles as well as raising wages of hourly workers who are working at this crucial time to help fulfill orders and deliver to customers.

"This isn't business as usual, and it's a time of great stress and uncertainty. It's also a moment in time when the work we're doing is its most critical," Bezos said, adding that he predicted things were going to get much worse before they get better, referring to the economic effects of the crisis.

This comes at a time when e-commerce has reportedly boomed as more and more people are forced to stay home, essentially requiring to order everything online.

In India, grocery delivery companies such as BigBasket and Grofers have seen an unprecedented surge in demand, and have struggled to keep up amid what has also been a lot of panic buying.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for observation of a self-imposed curfew on Sunday and lockdowns have been imposed across at least 82 districts across the country. Over 341,000 cases have been reported so far globally with more than 14,700 deaths. The number of people who have tested positive in India crossed 400 on Monday.

Essential Supplies

According to multiple news reports, individuals have tried to take advantage of the demand increase, hoarding and selling essentials such as masks and sanitizers at exorbitant prices.

In his statement, Bezos said the company has changed its logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing and third party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items such as household staples, sanitizers, baby supplies and medical supplies. "We are providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable," he said.

Health and Safety

Bezos acknowledged that much of the work that the company does cannot be done at home and that a number of preventive health measures, for both employees and contractors across the world, have been implemented. These include increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning, adjusting practices in fulfillment centers to ensure recommended social distancing guidelines.

A message to all Amazon employees.

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos) on

"We have placed purchase orders for millions of face masks we want to give to our employees and contractors who cannot work from home but very few of those orders have been filled. Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics," he said.

He said that as soon as the company has its turn, the first priority would be to get them to those on the front lines, working to get essential products to people.

Debroop Roy

Entrepreneur Staff


Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore for Entrepreneur. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.

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