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Amazon to hire 150 in Delaware, restrict third-party shipments

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Amazon will hire 150 new workers in Delaware to handle the rush of coronavirus-spurred orders, officials said. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

It’s a good news, sort-of bad news story out of Amazon.

The company is adding 150 new jobs at its warehouses in Middletown and New Castle, but will also, for the next three weeks, restrict which products it stores and ships from third-party vendors in its warehouses as a result of high demand on household items due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the 150 Delaware jobs, Amazon will add another 150 employees in the Philadelphia metro region and 100 at the North East warehouse in neighboring Cecil County, Maryland.

Storage and Delivery Restrictions

The goal is to prioritize medicine and “high-demand products” coming into warehouses so that Amazon can receive, restock and ship products faster to customers.

“We are seeing increased online shopping, and  a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”

Products already on their way to warehouses will be accepted and shipped out, but no new products will be accepted until April 5.

Independent merchants still have the option to sell their products through Amazon without using the company’s warehouses. But that would put strain on merchants to find an independent warehouse to ship out their products. 

The restrictions come on the heels of Amazon’s other announcement that it would create 150 new jobs at its two warehouses in Delaware as part of its plan to hire 100,000 new workers nationwide to meet the ever-growing demand for doorstep deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.

New jobs in Delaware, surrounding areas

The new positions include full-time and part-time jobs to “fill labor needs [which] are unprecedented for this time of year,” Amazon Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations Dave Clark wrote on Monday night.

The e-commerce giant is also raising hourly wage by $2 until April, bumping minimum wage to $17 an hour. Amazon is also raising pay similar amounts in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

Overall, it represents a $350 million investment during a public health emergency with heavy economic fallout. Amazon’s goal is twofold: Provide employment to those who can’t work and to meet demand for delivery service.

Amazon’s announcement comes at a time when many in the service industry are without work and many others are furloughed in hopes of limiting social contact.

Gov. John Carney closed Delaware restaurants except for takeout orders at 8 p.m. Monday, and grocery stores across the nation have been wiped out of many cleaning supplies and staple foods as people prepare to stay indoors for days at a time.

Amazon is taking its own precautions in light of COVID-19, including cleaning its warehouses more frequently and holding job interviews through video conferencing. All employees are required to sanitize and clean their workstations and vehicles at the start and end of every shift with disinfectant wipes.

Any employee who may test positive for COVID-19 will receive up to two weeks of pay while in quarantine.

To apply for the new jobs, visit amazon.com/jobsnow.

By Katie Tabeling

[email protected]

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