By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
A number of traditional retailers, including Nike, Lululemon and Under Armour have announced store closures
Amazon.com Inc. says shoppers should expect more "out-of-stocks" on household staples and longer delivery times due to heightened demand during the coronavirus outbreak.
The company warns that some deliveries will exceed the usual Prime member promise of one-day delivery.
For those customers concerned about social distancing during delivery, Amazon (AMZN) says customers can ask for an "unattended delivery" for all items ordered on Prime Now, Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh, except alcohol.
Amazon is experiencing what many traditional retailers have been trying to manage in bricks-and-mortar stores: high demand for coronavirus-related items including disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and paper towels.
See:Walmart cuts store hours until further notice in response to coronavirus epidemic ()
Amazon also says it's taking action against price gouging, removing offers that violate its policies.
And in its stores, there are additional measures to clean and sanitize various surfaces.
The pandemic has prompted a number of retailers, from Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) to Target Corp. (TGT) and Walmart Inc. (WMT) , to take increased cleaning measures, put limits on the amount of certain items individual shoppers can purchase and close locations or reduce hours out of heightened caution.
Amazon has canceled fulfillment center tours, large events and is doing virtual interviews in place of face-to-face meetings.
Read: Kroger's panic-buying restrictions on binge-buying coronavirus-related items helps stop price-gouging and black markets, experts say ()
Amazon workers have been instructed to work from home if possible. Those who cannot are still eligible for their usual paid and unpaid time-off benefits. Anyone testing positive for Covid-19 will receive up to two weeks pay while in quarantine and unlimited unpaid time off for hourly employees through the end of March.
The Amazon Relief Fund, launched with a $25 million contribution, will help seasonal workers, drivers and others in financial distress. Applicants can apply for grants starting at $400 and reaching up to $5,000.
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The Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund has also been launched with $5 million to help small businesses that are struggling during the outbreak. The company has also donated $1 million to the Seattle Foundation fund, which helps nonprofits and community members. Locally, the company says it's also donating gift cards and other resources like baby items.
Amazon is also making access to sponsored content on its Amazon Future Engineer program available to kids from the 6th through 12th grades as schools are disrupted nationwide. Content focuses on computer science topics.
Amazon stock is up nearly 3% over the past year. The S&P 500 index as fallen 13.3% for the last 12 months.
-Tonya Garcia; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 17, 2020 09:33 ET (13:33 GMT)
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