Amazon Warns Customers to Expect Delays as Coronavirus Fears Ramp Up

Online retailers and stores across the country are struggling to keep their shelves stocked amid panic purchasing

Amazon is warning customers of delivery delays and out of stock items amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

On Friday, the retail giant issued a statement outlining their global efforts and company-wide actions during the pandemic and revealed that they are quickly selling-out of some popular household items.

“As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online. In the short term, this is having an impact on how we serve our customers. In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories,” Amazon wrote. “You will also notice that some of our delivery promises are longer than usual. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders. March 14, 2020.”

The company also addressed the price-gouging issue they began experiencing earlier this year, as merchants began inflating their prices for products like medical face masks amid public concerns over the illness.

Amazon fulfillment center
Scott Olson/Getty Images Inc. delivery truck
Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“We’re also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items, in line with our long-standing policy,” they added. “We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policy.”

The company also added a notice to the top of its Amazon Fresh landing page that reads: “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand. Confirm availability at checkout.”

Items like toilet paper and hand soap appear to have been re-stocked as of Monday morning after some outlets reported them to be unavailable over the weekend.

Amazon fulfillment center

Amazon isn’t the only retailer experiencing trouble with keeping their shelves stocked. Several stores across the country have reported running low or completely out of stock on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other items as more consumers frantically shop amid the coronavirus fears.

During a press briefing on Sunday night, President Donald Trump said that he had a call with executives from more than two dozen grocery stores earlier that day, and asked the American public to “take it easy.”

“They’re going to work 24 hours around the clock, keeping their stores stocked,” Trump said. “It’ll all be great, we are going to be so good… You don’t have to buy so much, take it easy. Just relax.”

Government and health officials continue to urge Americans to follow protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help contain the spread. This includes washing your hands often and social distancing for the time being.

Only “high-risk” Americans are recommended to stock up on supplies and groceries by the CDC. However, “low-risk” consumers can also do their part by avoiding supermarkets during busier hours, and only purchasing what is necessary for the week.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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