As the UK wakes up to a national lockdown, trips to the shops unless absolutely necessary for essentials, food and medicine are no longer allowed, so many are turning to Amazon to help.

But as much of the country is now staying indoors the next three weeks, how will this affect you?

Can I still place an order?

According to the online retailer, it is continuing to fulfil orders, but delivery times will be longer.

Amazon has advised to be aware that companies and businesses that may be closed will be unable to receive parcels, so to remember to select your delivery address as your home.

It also said it was hiring 100,000 positions across the US to help with the surge in demand and enable them to continue providing a service especially to the most vulnerable, such as the elderly. 

Will delivery times be affected?

“To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritise stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers,” Amazon said in a statement. “This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.”

If you usually get your orders delivered to your office and you’re now working from home, make sure to enter the correct address at checkout.

In a statement, it revealed its teams would be prioritising the delivery of items needed by the most affected customers, who may not be able to leave their house to visit a supermarket. “These are items such as food, health and personal care products, books and items needed to work from home,” Amazon said. 

Some items may be in short supply to as Amazon has said it would only be accepting new stock into its warehouses in early April if it falls under an essential category such as health, household goods or medical supplies. 

Customers on Twitter shared their experience trying to organise the delivery of their orders. 

Some called the delayed service ‘”terrifying”, while others are waiting a month for their orders to arrive.  

In a blog post from 17 March, the company encouraged customers to choose the “No-Rush Shipping” option when available which enables Amazon to consolidate orders and make fewer stops in the area through the week, and serve customers with critical needs first. “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. We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policy,” it wrote. 

Does my Amazon Prime membership still work?

Amazon Prime is currently still available, however, Business Insider has reported that for US customers, non-essential orders with Prime membership have been given delivery dates a month away, as the company copes with the coronavirus. 

Is it safe to receive a delivery?

If you’re concerned about the risk of coming into contact with coronavirus through an Amazon delivery, the World Health Organisation has said the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low. WHO has also advised that the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low. 

Amazon delivery drivers have also been instructed to limit contact with customers by checking identification, if required, at a distance and placing packages on doorsteps and stepping back rather than handing it to you in person. 

To receive delivery of food from Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh or Prime Now, you can also select “unattended delivery” during checkout to ensure you don’t come into any contact with others too. 

Should you need to return an order, Amazon has said that returns are still running as normal.

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