Amazon’s COVID-19 blog: daily updates on how we’re addressing the crisis
Our teams worldwide are working around the clock to ensure we continue to provide essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a running list of updates from Amazon, including what we’re doing to support our employees, partners, customers, and communities.
"Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?"
We’re working hard to ensure Alexa is as helpful as possible during the COVID-19 crisis. We built a U.S. experience that lets you use Alexa to check your risk level for COVID-19 at home. Ask, "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?" or "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?" She will ask a series of questions and provide CDC guidance given your risk level and symptoms. Read more.
Providing 73,000 meals to elderly and vulnerable residents in the Seattle area
Amazon is collaborating with local catering business Gourmondo to distribute 73,000 meals, over the course of a month, to 2,700 elderly and medically-vulnerable residents in Seattle and King County during the COVID-19 outbreak. "Amazon is committed to supporting people in immediate need across the globe and right here in King County—and right now it’s more important than ever we pay close attention to our most vulnerable neighbors,” said John Schoettler, Amazon vice president, Global Real Estate and Facilities. Read more.
Amazon grants over $5 million to 400 small businesses in Seattle
Amazon provided $5.5 million in relief to more than 400 small businesses through cash grants and free rent as part of our Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund announced on March 10. These businesses support local jobs that are a critical part of the Seattle and Puget Sound economy. Amazon’s grants will help small businesses confront their economic challenges right now. Learn more about early recipients.
CNN interview with Jay Carney on Amazon’s COVID-19 response
Amazon’s SVP of Global Corporate Affairs discusses hiring and how the company is addressing the pandemic. Watch here.
Health and safety measures from the global Amazon network
Amazonians all over the world have sent in images of the ways their facilities are adapting to fight the spread of COVID-19. See below for snapshots that capture everything from the enhanced cleaning protocols to the many visual reminders of the need to practice social distancing. Read more here about how Amazon prioritizes health and safety while fulfilling customer orders.
Amazon teams up with Lyft to help drivers find work
Amazon and Lyft are collaborating to reduce the hardships drivers are facing due to a drop in using the ride-hailing service. Lyft is encouraging its drivers to apply for roles in Amazon’s fulfillment centers to support grocery and package deliveries. Amazon is ramping up hiring by opening 100,000 new roles to support people relying on Amazon’s service in this stressful time. Read more.
Amazon Web Services-powered platform helps Boston Children’s Hospital track the spread of COVID-19
The Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Epidemiology Lab recently launched COVID Near You, a platform built on Amazon Web Services to track the spread of COVID-19. It uses crowdsourced data to create map-based visualizations to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for COVID-19. COVID Near You provides real-time reports of virus symptoms which can augment traditional public health tracking and help citizens understand COVID-19 symptoms are occurring in their community. Learn more.
Amazon Web Services and Electronic Caregiver help healthcare providers assess COVID-19 symptoms remotely
Amazon Lex is powering smart hub technology for Electronic Caregiver, a health and safety monitoring device provider, to aid in the detection and treatment of COVID-19. The technology allows healthcare professionals to monitor vitals, such as a high temperature and flu-like symptoms, remotely through wearable devices. If an elevated-temperature reading occurs, the technology triggers a voice interaction between the healthcare provider with the wearable and the patient to check symptoms and assess a COVID-19 risk score. The solution can also connect to a physician-on-demand telehealth service to provide additional diagnosis and order prescriptions remotely.
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos discusses COVID-19 issues and logistics with Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Amazon UK supports NHS initiative to increase COVID-19 testing capacity
We are joining a coalition of UK companies, universities, and research institutions to boost testing capacity for COVID-19. Our logistics network, along with Royal Mail, will deliver test kits to critical workers and diagnostic sites set up around the UK. National Health Service (NHS) staff on the frontlines of the pandemic will be among the first to benefit from the increased testing capacity. Find out more here.
Amazon donates over £3M to relief organizations in the UK
Amazon today committed £3.2 million ($3.9M USD) to organizations supporting those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, including the British Red Cross and local intuitions in communities where our employees live and work. This donation is part of Amazon’s broader ongoing efforts to support customers, employees, and communities in the UK and around the world. Read more.
Amazon Web Services collaborates with Conduent to help government agencies scale COVID-19 responses
We are working with our Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner, Conduent (a business process and services company), to empower federal, state, and local agencies to better track COVID-19’s spread and report on cases and potential exposures. Conduent’s disease surveillance and outbreak management platform – Maven (powered by AWS) – can be quickly deployed by healthcare organizations so they can begin performing "contact tracing" across entire regions securely and at scale. In the U.S., Conduent is waiving the software license fee for the Maven COVID-19 module through June 30, 2020, for qualified state and territorial
A message from Dave Clark, SVP Amazon World Wide Operations: Thank You Amazon Heroes
To all of our Amazon heroes on the floor, in the air, or behind the wheel—thank you.
How to use Alexa and Amazon Devices to stay informed and connected
We want to do everything we can to support customers during these unprecedented times and our teams are working to make Alexa and Amazon Devices (Kindle, Fire tablets, Echo, Fire TV, and more) even more helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
Providing Music and Amazon Devices to hospital patients
Amazon Music and Amazon Devices are working with Musicians On Call to bring streaming music to hospital patients, as part of the organization’s Music Pharmacy program. This program typically brings artists and volunteer musicians into hospitals for acoustic performances. While in-person visits are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients be able to stream Amazon Music Unlimited for free, on donated Fire 7 tablets.
In a teleconference with the World Health Organization, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos discusses the ways Amazon is helping during the COVID-19 pandemic
Amazon Web Services supports the new White House COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium
The White House launched the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium
to provide researchers with access to the most powerful high performance computing resources to help stop the virus. As part of the Consortium, AWS is offering research institutions and companies technical support and AWS service credits to advance research on COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine studies. Researchers and scientists working on time-critical projects can use AWS to instantly access virtually unlimited infrastructure capacity, as well as the latest technologies in compute, storage, and networking to accelerate results. Researchers can find out more on how to get started here.
How Amazon is helping customers get groceries
We've seen a large increase in people shopping online for groceries through Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market, and wanted to share how we're supporting our customers, caring for our teams, and expanding our deliveries with this increased demand. We've introduced enhanced cleanliness protocols in all our stores and facilities, social distancing guidelines for customers and employees, and more. We're also increasing capacity for delivery and pick-up options for Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market, and working around the clock with suppliers to get the items we know customers need back in stock. This is in addition to the increased pay for our associates. Find out more here.
Twitch to host a 12-hour charity live stream to benefit COVID-19 relief
Amazon subsidiary Twitch (a video live streaming service) has partnered with Amazon Music to launch Twitch Stream Aid. The 12-hour charity live stream will benefit the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and feature some of the biggest names in gaming, music, and sports, with special guests. Twitch Stream Aid kicks off this Saturday, March 28 at 9:00 a.m. PST. Learn more.
Amazon providing Seattle-area quarantine patients with more than 250,000 essential items
Amazon is donating more than 250,000 critical items to patients in quarantine or recovering from COVID-19 across the Seattle area. Items include linens, towels, shelf-stable food, Amazon Devices, entertainment items, and other supplies.
Amazon is also partnering with Bellevue LifeSpring, an organization providing services to children and families, to help those in need obtain essential items during the outbreak. Families in the Bellevue School District who can’t reach food pick-up sites can shop online for eligible groceries, health products, and personal care items sold on Amazon and get them delivered directly to their doorstep.
Amazon Future Engineer is supporting teachers and parents with at-home resources
While students experience classroom disruptions across the U.S., Amazon Future Engineer is providing access to a variety of free, online learning opportunities during the pandemic. Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career program aimed at increasing access to computer science education for children and adults from underserved and underrepresented communities. Find out more here.
Amazon Web Services helps the World Health Organization accelerate COVID-19 research
We are working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate the effort to track the virus, understand its outbreak, and better contain its spread. AWS is supplying WHO with advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise. This includes building vast "data lakes" aggregating epidemiological country data and rapidly translating medical training videos into different languages.
Helping customers get involved with relief efforts
Customers can use Amazon.com to donate to charities helping those affected by COVID-19, including Feeding America, American Red Cross, and Save the Children. Find out more here, or just say, "Alexa, make a donation to Feeding America COVID-19 Response."
How Amazon prioritizes health and safety while fulfilling customer orders
Now more than ever, Amazon's fulfillment, delivery, and physical store networks play a critical role in serving customers. In these unprecedented times, we remain committed to the health and safety of our employees, partners, and customers. Read more.
Amazonians contribute to All In Seattle
Amazonians have joined Seattle community members to raise $27 million to help fund local nonprofits and charities through the All in Seattle initiative. Find out more.
Amazon supports the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to help musicians
Amazon Music is contributing to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to support music industry workers in need. MusiCares is the Recording Academy’s charitable foundation, and its COVID-19 Relief Fund will support those affected by the unprecedented cancellation of music events and work opportunities during the pandemic. Read more.
We’re vigorously combating price gouging
Amazon is taking important steps to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those exploiting the current crisis through price gouging. We have zero tolerance for this harmful practice and longstanding policies and systems to protect our customers. Find out what we’re doing.
Amazon Care provides infrastructure and logistics support to the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network
The Amazon Care team is providing specially-trained couriers to help deliver and pick up swab kits to people in the greater Seattle region who qualify for a study led by Public Health – Seattle & King County. The Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) is a group of medical, public health, and research organizations working together to understand the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Seattle area. Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis is a community effort that requires support from both the private and public sectors. We are eager to leverage Amazon Care’s infrastructure and logistics capabilities to support this local effort. Learn more.
Interview with Jay Carney on Amazon’s COVID-19 response
Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs, Jay Carney, talks about our global efforts to support communities during the pandemic, including hiring initiatives and efforts to keep employees healthy. Here is a recent interview on CBS with Gayle King.
A message to employees from our CEO and founder
Jeff Bezos sent the following email to all Amazon employees: "This isn’t business as usual, and it’s a time of great stress and uncertainty. It’s also a moment in time when the work we're doing is its most critical. We've changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies. We're providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. People are depending on us." Read the full email.
Launching the $20 million AWS Diagnostic Initiative to accelerate COVID-19 research
We are launching the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative—a program to support customers working on better, more accurate diagnostic solutions and promote better collaboration across organizations solving similar problems. As part of this, we are committing an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed our collective understanding and detection of COVID-19. The AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative begins with participation from 35 global research institutions, startups, and businesses focused on tackling this challenge. Full story.
Donating $1 million to support emergency response efforts in Washington, D.C.
Amazon has donated $1 million to kick-start emergency COVID-19 response efforts in the Washington D.C. area. The funds will benefit the four largest foundations supporting vulnerable populations impacted amid the pandemic—including hourly workers, people experiencing homelessness, and the elderly. Amazon is also providing cash and in-kind support to five food service providers in the region. Full story.
Adjusting grocery store hours to help the most vulnerable
Whole Foods Market is temporarily adjusting store hours to accommodate those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Customers who are age 60 and over in the U.S. and Canada, and age 70 and over in the UK, are invited to shop beginning one hour before the store opens to the general public under the new adjusted hours. We are setting aside this time to help these customers feel more comfortable shopping at our stores and get needed items in a less crowded environment.
Ongoing, enhanced cleaning in our physical stores
To help protect customers shopping in our physical retail stores, we’ve enhanced our daily cleaning procedures and are implementing additional nightly cleanings. We continue to educate employees on CDC guidance for maintaining healthy habits and are offering flexibility for employees who need to stay home, plus paid time off for those who are diagnosed with the virus.
Prioritizing essential items in our Operations network
As COVID-19 continues to spread, online shopping has increased, particularly for essential goods. To address this need and help ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve adjusted our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering higher-priority items. This will result in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.
Customers can help others through No-Rush Shipping
While customers can continue to buy any in-stock product in our store, those ordering non-essential items can help others by choosing No-Rush Shipping when available. Selecting the No-Rush option helps us serve customers with the most critical needs first because we can consolidate more orders and make fewer stops in neighborhoods throughout the week.
Hiring 100,000 people to help meet demand and support existing employees
We’re hiring 100,000 new full and part-time employees across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s services during this stressful time. We encourage people across the hospitality, restaurant, and travel industries who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to work with us until their previous employer can hire them back. Learn more.
Increasing pay in the U.S., UK, Canada, and many EU countries
Our employees in fulfillment centers, transportation operations, stores or those making deliveries are playing an essential role for customers during this crisis. We are recognizing this amazing work with pay increases. For every hour worked through April, qualifying employees will receive an additional $2 USD per hour in the U.S., C$2 per hour in Canada, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million. Full story.
Customers can select unattended delivery options
Customers ordering delivery from Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market have the option to select "unattended delivery" during checkout if they prefer not to come into contact with their delivery driver. Customers can specify the drop-off location as part of the check-out process as well. Orders not containing alcohol are eligible for unattended delivery.
Providing teachers and students with online STEM courses
Starting today, the Amazon Future Engineer program will provide free access to computer science courses for students and teachers in the United States. These courses are for independent learners from 6th to 12th grade or teachers working remotely with this age group. Find this content and more on the Amazon Future Engineer website.
Establishing the $25 million Amazon Relief Fund
We’ve established a $25 million Amazon Relief Fund to support our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during the pandemic. All of these groups can apply for grants equaling up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. Read more.
Supporting employees affected by COVID with paid time off
All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. This ensures employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost income. This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of March. Full story.
New $5 million fund for small businesses in Amazon’s Seattle neighborhood
We created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to help Seattle-area small businesses during this economically challenging time. The fund will support businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. To qualify for a grant, businesses should have a physical presence within a few blocks of Amazon’s Regrade or South Lake Union offices, be open to the general public, and rely on foot traffic for customers. Additionally, we are subsidizing two full months of rent for tenants in Amazon-owned businesses. Full story.
Amazon donates $1 million to COVID-19 Response Fund
We’ve contributed $1 million to a COVID-19 Response Fund to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the front lines of the Puget Sound region’s COVID-19 outbreak. The fund, which is hosted by the Seattle Foundation, will provide flexible resources to nonprofits and community-based organizations working with those disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the economic consequences of the outbreak. Initial grants will support organizations helping those without sick leave or health insurance, medically fragile individuals, and healthcare workers. Full story.
Amazon employees recommended to work from home
In light of ongoing international COVID-19 developments, we now recommend all employees who can work from home to do so through April 10. Employees and partners whose work requires being in their workplace have access to all of their usual paid and unpaid time-off benefits.
We are continuing to pay all hourly staff who work for service providers—from food-service workers to security guards to janitorial staff—supporting our global offices around the world.
February 28, 2020:
Taking action to protect our employees and communities
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve taken steps to protect the health of our employees and communities. We’ve canceled large events, moved our annual shareholders meeting online, and paused tours of our fulfillment centers and headquarters. Additionally, we’ve transitioned to virtual job interviews where possible and increased the frequency of cleaning for all facilities globally, ensuring the regular sanitization of high-traffic surfaces like door handles, stairway handrails, elevator buttons, lockers, and touch screens.