Coronavirus fallout: Amazon is placing new online grocery customers on a waiting list

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Amazon is placing new grocery delivery customers on a waitlist as it pushes social distancing and grapples with the onslaught of digital orders placed during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The e-commerce giant is focusing on orders placed by existing Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery customers, for the time being, the company said in a blog post on Sunday. Prospective clients will be able to place orders in the future as Amazon increases its capacity.

"We're increasing capacity each week and will invite new customers to shop every week," Amazon said.

Hours at Whole Foods grocery stores are being shifted to give workers more time to restock the shelves as the company pilots new safety measures.

Also, the number of Whole Foods stores offering grocery order pickup has grown from about 80 stores to more than 150, the company says, with continued expansion planned. At the same time, Amazon has opened a in Woodland Hills, California as a temporary location for filling only online grocery orders for delivery.

These follow several others put in by Amazon as more people under stay-at-home orders buy things online.

Amazon temporarily suspended its Prime Pantry delivery service in March. That same month, it announced plans to hire an additional 100,000 people to help meet demand. The company has also padded delivery dates on some non-essential items and curtailed its courier service in the wake of COVID-19.

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