Amazon suspends warehouse shipments due to coronavirus — here's what it means for you

Amazon Logo
Amazon Logo (Image credit: Andrew Martonik/Android Central)

This week, Amazon announced that it is suspending warehouse shipments from independent merchants in order to prioritize medical supplies, household staples, and high-demand products during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The suspension runs through April 5, during which time you may see some products go out of stock as Amazon shifts its focus to quickly receiving, restocking, and shipping high-demand products that may help protect customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers."

Still, that leaves plenty of questions about what this means for current orders, as well as any you might need to make between now and April 5. Here's what Amazon's suspension of warehouse shipments means for you.

Has Amazon stopped shipping orders?

No. Amazon will continue to ship orders, but certain items might go out of stock while the company shifts its focus to ensuring medical supplies, household staples, and "high-demand" products remain in stock to meet demand.

What exactly will Amazon continue to ship?

Everything Amazon currently has available in its fulfillment centers will continue to ship. However, because it is suspending shipments to its warehouses from independent merchants, some non-essential items may run out of stock and won't ship until Amazon resumes receiving shipments from those sellers.

Additionally, independent merchants can continue to sell on Amazon on their own, but the orders won't be fulfilled by Amazon.

Will existing orders that were placed earlier this week still ship?

Yes, if stock for existing orders was already available, they will continue to ship. The suspension of warehouse shipments only affects the replenishment of items from independent merchants for Amazon's warehouses.

How can customers tell if something they try order will still ship?

Product pages will continue to list estimated shipping dates. If something is out of stock, or if there is a delay in shipping, you should see it on the product page.

Should you stop ordering from Amazon and use another retailer?

No. If an item is out of stock and you need it urgently, you may want to go with another retailer for now. However, in-stock items will continue to ship from Amazon, so you shouldn't notice any impact if Amazon has the item already in its warehouses and ready to ship out.

Where can I get essentials if Amazon is out of stock?

Many stores have been running out of essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and Amazon isn't impervious to shortages. If you need to get your hands on something urgently, we're keeping tabs on where you can still buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper, and we have a guide on making your own homemade hand sanitizer.

Beyond online orders, it's worth checking to see if local retailers around you have items in stock before venturing out if Amazon isn't an option. Stores like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot allow you to quickly see if certain items are in stock, and they may be a better place to secure anything you need right away.

Will Amazon tell you if it will not ship something until the April date?

The estimated shipping window Amazon lists on product pages should continue to tell you when your items will ship.

Will this change affect Amazon Prime Day 2020?

It's currently unclear whether this move will have an impact on Amazon Prime Day 2020, which is expected to kick off in July. However, in February, reports indicated Amazon is concerned over the effect coronavirus could have on Prime Day this year and it had begun reaching out to sellers to understand the virus' potential impact on their operations.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl