Amazon’s COVID-19 blog: updates on how we’re addressing the crisis
Our teams worldwide are working around the clock to ensure we continue to provide our essential services during this most critical time. Below is a running list of updates and what we’re doing to support our employees, partners, customers, and communities.
Donate meals to those in need by asking Alexa
While the country is gripped by the COVID-19 crisis, many people are in need of basic essentials such as food and shelter. We have partnered with Akshaya Patra to launch an ‘Essentials Box’ donation program where an Amazon customer can place a pre-paid order for the essentials box. Each box contains basic non-perishable grocery items like rice, dal and sugar.
Amazon Echo customers can now contribute to this good cause by just asking Alexa. Say “Alexa, donate essentials box” to add the box to your Amazon shopping cart and complete purchase using Amazon Pay by saying “Alexa, order it now”. Each box costs ₹200, serves up to 20 meals and will be delivered directly to Akshaya Patra. You can read more about the essentials box here.
Amazon provides free COVID-19 health insurance for its sellers
Amazon.in today announced that it is providing a COVID-19 health insurance, completely free of cost for its sellers in India. The insurance will help cover the expenses related to COVID-19 hospitalization and treatment as well as ambulance assistance and ICU charges of up to INR 50,000, and it will be valid for one year after activation. Amazon will fully fund the premium for this health insurance and has partnered with Acko General Insurance (Acko) to manage the policy delivery and handling of claims and reimbursements. This will benefit lakhs of Amazon sellers - anyone who has had an active product listing on Amazon.in between January 2019 and 26 May 2020.
Amazon Business delivers 100 million critical supplies to healthcare and government organizations at cost
Throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic, the demand for health and safety products has outpaced supply. That’s why Amazon Business created COVID‑19 Supplies, a program offering organizations with the most urgent need—like hospitals and senior living facilities—critical products to fight the pandemic at cost. More than 13,000 healthcare providers and 7,000 government organizations have used COVID‑19 Supplies since it launched in the U.S. on March 31, and the program has expanded to Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India. Read more.
Fillip to 6 lakh retailers and MSMEs on our marketplace
We welcome the latest notification from the Government allowing #ecommerce to deliver a wider selection of products. This will enable our 6 Lakh retailers and #MSMEs and help revive the economy. We remain committed to the safety of our employees and the community. pic.twitter.com/epu6SlKTWO— Amazon India News (@AmazonNews_IN) May 18, 2020
Amazon Business introduces ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’
Amazon Business today introduced the ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ to provide easy access for businesses to buy COVID related supplies on Amazon. Frontline organizations such as healthcare and government can purchase COVID-19 related essentials in bulk from the store to effectively fight the virus. The ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ has been specifically curated to provide instant access to critical medical supplies and safety products. Customers need not spend time searching for individual products. The store has a wide selection of items like N95 Masks, Surgical Masks, Sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits, Gloves, Shoe Covers, PPE Suits, Facial Shields, Infrared Thermometers and we continue to add more.
Commenting on the initiative, Manish Tiwary, Vice President – Category Management, Amazon India, said, “The ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ is our effort towards providing institutional buyers with a one-stop shop for all their needs around safety and sanitization products. The store seeks to serve bulk buying needs of healthcare professionals and organizations as the nation continues to fight the virus. In these unprecedented times, Amazon remains committed to serve the nation by providing instant access and delivering products safely to customers across the country.”
Special Delivery Services in containment zones in Mumbai in collaboration with BMC
Amazon India today announced delivery services of essential items to residents in containment zones in Mumbai, in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Following successful pilots over the last few weeks, the company has scaled up the initiative to deliver essentials in many containment zones in the city. This initiative will support residents in these zones who face restrictions in movement. Amazon will deliver these orders to a designated delivery point in the vicinity of the containment zone, from where volunteers will further deliver the packages to the customer’s doorstep. Read More
Amazon India donates one lakh N95 masks, 40K hygiene kits & 65K PPE kits
Amazon in India has partnered with several NGOs across the country to donate hygiene aid kits, personal protective equipment kits and groceries in support of healthcare workers and communities most affected by COVID-19. These donations are being distributed across Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi – NCR, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh through its NGO partners that include United Way, Oxfam India, Concern India, India STEM Foundation, Read India, American India Foundation, Care, Learning Links Foundation, Indian Women and Children Foundation, ASVSS, and Forum for Rural Development. Amazon is working closely with these NGOs and various state departments to identify the requirements from each region in association and ensure that the donations reach the most vulnerable.
Read More here
Letters from our frontline heroes
When our customers write to us, we listen. And so do our associates. Here’s how the associates from across the Amazon fulfillment network responded to all the love received from our customers—by expressing their heart-felt thoughts in writing, in the times of social distancing.
Read the letters here
Amazon Pay launches Amazon Pay Later
‘Amazon Pay Later’, is a service that will extend a virtual line of credit to eligible customers shopping on Amazon.in. With an easy digital sign-up process, customers will get access to instant credit that they can use to buy any product ranging from daily essentials to electronics and clothing items. Customers can also use this credit to complete their bill payments on Amazon.in. Amazon Pay Later service offers the option to repay in the subsequent month at no additional fees, or in easy EMIs up to 12 months at nominal interest rates. Read More here
Amazon India launches special fund to help SMB partners in logistics
Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) across India have been financially impacted due to the nationwide lockdown in these unprecedented times. In an effort to enable the SMBs in logistics that are heavily reliant on the company, Amazon India has introduced a Partner Support Fund. This Fund for small and medium businesses in logistics will be available to Delivery Service Partners (DSP) and select Transportation partners in India to help adjust their business model to the new realities posed during the lockdown. Through the one-time disbursement, the fund will support the partners in multiple ways. This includes enabling them to provide financial aid to close to 40,000 of their staff for the month of April’20. Additionally it will help cover some critical fixed infrastructure costs, and support liquidity and cash flow for these businesses as they resume and scale their operations post lockdown. Read More
Amazon India strengthens partnership with Indian Railways for ease of freight movement
Amazon India today announced that it has strengthened its partnership with the Indian Railways to transport consignments via rail across the country. The company is leveraging the ’COVID-19 Parcel Special Trains’ introduced by the Indian Railways to ramp up its operations to 55 lanes during the lockdown period. This enhanced network will enable sellers in Amazon India’s network to ship their products across the country and keep their businesses running, thereby, allowing people to access a more diverse selection of essential products.
NSDC, Amazon India collaborate to launch digital campaign to combat COVID-19
In an endeavour to raise public awareness on the novel coronavirus, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has partnered with Amazon India, to launch the “Fight Against COVID-19 #AwareIndiaSafeIndia; Digital Campaign”. Using digital platforms and online community engagement, the campaign will drive awareness on the importance of precautionary measures in combating COVID-19 such as physical distancing and maintaining hygiene. In addition to this, Amazon and NSDC will engage students and skill trainees through NSDC’s network of 11,000+ Training Centres, 800+ Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra and digital interfaces. Read More
Helping serve a million meals
While the country is gripped by COVID-19 crisis, many people are in need of basic essentials such as food and shelter. We have partnered with Akshaya Patra to launch an ‘Essentials Box’ Donation program where an Amazon customer can place a pre-paid order for essentials box with the willingness to donate it.
The essentials box contains basic non-perishable grocery items like Rice, Dal and Sugar sourced from one of our private brands suppliers. The contents of the box can serve up to 20 meals. We plan to help serve one million meals through the program over the next 4 weeks. Read how you can help
New shows on Audible Suno, created specially for these times when you’re at home
Straddling a variety of genres and presented by some of your favourite voices, these shows promise to keep you company. Audible has launched 10 brand new shows on Audible Suno, which are available free of cost.
These shows will be available in Hindi and Hinglish, and have been specially created to provide a wholesome experience to listeners during these trying times when people are at home. The shows cover a variety of genres, including fictionalized stories on people’s experiences during the lockdown, fitness, mindfulness and self-development at home, sit-coms and even mythology, to help listeners immerse themselves and to keep them company. Read more about the shows
Local Shops on Amazon, a new beginning for offline retailers
In a first for Amazon anywhere in the world, we will use our technology, training and enablement capabilities to power local shops across India to sell online. Over the last 6 months, we have been running a pilot with 5,000+ offline retailers and local shops to bring the benefits of online selling closer to them. Code-named ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, this program helps customers discover products from local shops in their city (many they already trust and love!) from the convenience of their homes, while helping shopkeepers supplement their footfalls with a digital presence and expand beyond their normal catchment. Read more about Local Shops
AWS InCommunities provides medical supplies, hygiene kits to health workers
AWS InCommunities, our Amazon Web Services team focused on community engagement, has reached out to the medical community and health workers in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Telangana to help those on the frontline by providing medical supplies and hygiene kits contributing to the fight against COVID-19. We have donated ventilators to the District Headquarters Hospital in Telangana and masks, gloves, sanitizers, and other COVID-19 relief supplies to other medical establishments to help medical staff.
AWS InCommunities also supports mask donations to medical establishments in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as well as personal protective equipment (PPEs) to 108 ambulance and airport staff. For frontline workers in Mumbai, the team donated COVID-19 relief kits, containing masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, soaps, and other required materials.
Supporting migrant labour with dry ration
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought hardship to the migrant labour community, who depend on daily wages for essentials including food. Therefore, AWS InCommunities provided over 3,600 kilograms of dry ration to migrant workers housed in 10 Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) schools where AWS InCommunities set up STEAM labs. Commenting on the contributions, Nitin Kale, Deputy Commissioner, NMMC, thanked Amazon for helping NMMC in this coronavirus pandemic situation. “This donation means a lot for us, as we have to supply essential commodities to migrant workers, slum dwellers, homeless people, and people under quarantine.” he added.
Virtual internships for students in India
In light of the COVID-19 developments, we have launched a virtual internship program for all corporate teams globally. Amazon interns play a role in building the future for our customers, and this summer, we are happy to welcome our newest class of interns across India. Amazon will honour our commitment to provide an internship experience to all the interns we had made an offer to
Live stream One World: Together At Home on Prime Video
On Sunday, April 19 at 5:00 a.m. India time, tune into Global Citizen’s “One World: Together At Home” global broadcast, streaming for free on Prime Video, to support frontline healthcare works and the World Health Organization. To watch the broadcast live on Fire TV Stick and Echo Show, just say “Alexa, search for One World: Together At Home.” The event will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert, and will feature appearances, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and more. Additionally, this digital broadcast will be available on Prime Video for 72 hours after the show so that users who missed it live can watch it on the Prime Video app, Fire TV Stick and Echo Show.
Helping small and medium businesses through COVID-19
With the nationwide lock down and restrictions on movements of goods and people; customers are counting on us like never before and are increasingly recognising e-commerce to support their social distancing and self-quarantine efforts.
this is an equally challenging time for our seller partners and it impacts their business – especially the SMBs. We realize this and are taking several measures to help and support them navigate through this tough situation we are all in.Read about the reclaim, refunds and reward policies for our seller partners
An inside look at our fulfillment centres during COVID-19
From distributing personal protective gear, such as masks, to implementing temperature checks across our operations in India, check out our photo story highlighting some of the steps we are taking to keep our employees, associates and delivery partners safe and healthy.
.@amazonIN is taking several protective measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. From distributing personal protective gear like masks to implementing regular temperature checks, see in pictures efforts taken across our operations in India here ⬇️ https://t.co/DMjSXUriNX— Amazon India News (@AmazonNews_IN) April 16, 2020
Their work helps millions stay home
The people who work in Amazon's operations network are making sure customers can get what they need while the pandemic makes sheltering in place a matter of both personal and public health. Meet some of our Associates who are stepping up during these unprecedented times.
Prime Video streams Sangeet Setu, a virtual concert to fight COVID
Amazon extends Amazon Relief Fund to delivery partners in India
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and its network of partners across India are helping communities in a way that few can – delivering critical supplies directly to people who need them, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable sections. To support those who are enabling Amazon India to fulfil customer orders during this time, Amazon has extended the ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to associates part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and it’s trucking partners providing middle mile logistics support in the event of financial hardships. Read more about the Amazon Relief Fund
We have mandated temperature checks at all fulfilment centres, sort centres and delivery stations in India in an effort to ensure that employees, associates, partners and support staff are healthy when they arrive at work. Anyone registering a temperature over 99.5F will be asked to return home and only come back to work after they’ve gone three days without a fever. At this point we will be testing thousands of people daily. Read More
Personal protective equipment
We have reusable masks available now to Amazon associates, delivery service partners, Amazon Flex participants and other partners in our fulfilment network. These masks are available in all locations. All our associates are mandated to cover their nose and mouth from arrival through departure of their shifts at our sites, and also when they are out on the road during deliveries. Read More
Stay informed, stay connected
Alexa can now answer questions related to COVID-19, and we are working to provide accurate and timely information from news and official government source such as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in India. Read More
How AWS and its customers are helping students and teachers learn without disruption
As students and teachers are waking up to a new reality due to COVID-19, Impartus and CareerLauncher, and partners like Intel are using AWS, to quickly and securely enable remote learning solutions at scale, so students can continue their education anywhere, anytime.
We are building Alexa experiences to help you better protect your health
We’re working hard to ensure Alexa is as helpful as possible during the COVID-19 crisis. Using Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidance, our Alexa team built a India-specific experience that lets you use Alexa to check your symptoms for COVID-19 at home. Ask, "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?", "Alexa, how do I know if I have coronavirus?", or “Alexa, Kya mujhe coronavirus hai?”. Alexa will ask a series of questions and provide ICMR and Ministry of Health guidance given your risk level and symptoms.
Customers can now ask Alexa to sing a song for 20 seconds, and she’ll help you keep time while you scrub your hands with a tune. Just ask “Alexa, sing a song for 20 seconds” or “Alexa, sing the 20 second song”.
Join us in raising funds for the COVID pandemic
As people across the world unite to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams worldwide are working around the clock to help provide essential services and support our communities. One way we are supporting those in need is by inviting Indian customers, and our over 65,000 employees in India, to join us in raising funds for nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of this crisis. Donate to the PM Cares fund or our partner NGOs.
Let’s raise 100 crores to fight COVID-19 - Read More
Free eBooks on Kindle
As India has pledged to #Stayhome amidst COVID-19, we have now made a selection of kids and family eBooks available for free to read on Kindle apps and devices to all Amazon customers. This includes featured books for children, select books for adults across various genres like literature and fiction, health body and mind as well as timeless Classics. These eBooks are available across English, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam languages. We have been able to offer this in cooperation with several of our publishers and authors, and we continue to explore opportunities to make a wider selection of eBooks available for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can access and read these free eBooks on the free Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, PC and Mac as well as Kindle E-readers. You just need an Amazon account, which is free and can easily be set up on amazon.in.
Together for India
As India pledges to #StayHome to protect all of us, we at Amazon India pledge to come together and deliver essentials right at your doorstep. Here's a message from our delivery heroes who will make it happen. Read what these frontline heroes of Amazon have to say
Only SD content on Prime Video to ensure robustness of the cellular network
With the lockdown in effect from March 25, and most people staying at home there has been an unprecedented surge in mobile internet consumption. As a result, the Government of India and the telecom operators are concerned about its potential impact on the cellular network infrastructure.
To ensure the robustness of the cellular network, we at Prime Video, and as part of the larger Indian digital industry have agreed to adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD (Standard Definition) content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks. These voluntary measures will be in effect until April 14.
Select family, kids content free on Prime Video
A selection of kids and family content is now available free to watch on Prime Video for all Amazon customers. This includes our Amazon Original kids and family shows, select third party family movies and TV series licensed in cooperation with several of our studio partners, and we continue to explore opportunities to make a wider selection of content available for customers during the COVID pandemic.
To access the free kids and family content on Prime Video, families don’t need a Prime membership, just an Amazon account, which is free and can easily be set up on amazon.in. You can find the full selection of titles available for free in India here:
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 the customers we serve. Read More
Prioritizing high-priority items in our operations network
As COVID-19 has spread, we've seen an increase in people shopping online. To serve our customers while also helping to 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 items that are a higher priority for our customers. This will result in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual. Read More
How we’re combating price gouging
Amazon is taking a number of important steps to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those looking to exploit the current crisis. We have zero tolerance for price gouging and longstanding policies and systems to prevent this harmful practice. We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging. Find out what we are doing.
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.
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 additional pay while away from work is to ensure 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.
We continue to work closely with authorities in India and worldwide to ensure that we are taking the right precautions and have implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees.
Amazon employees who can are asked to work from home, globally
In light of ongoing international COVID-19 developments, we now recommend that all global employees who work in a role that can be done from home, do so, through April 10. Every team is different and not all jobs are conducive to working from home. Employees and partners whose work requires their physical presence in their workplace, have access to all of their usual paid and unpaid time-off benefits.
February 28, 2020:
Pausing events and tours
We have cancelled large events, and changed the majority of our job interviews to virtual interviews rather than in-person interviews, which often require travel. At the same time, we increased our cleaning of all facilities globally, including regular sanitization of all door handles, stairway handrails, elevator buttons, lockers, and touch screens.
We are continuing to pay all hourly staff who work for the service providers that support our offices around the world—from food-service workers to security guards to janitorial staff.
You can get the latest information about Amazon’s response to COVID-19 by bookmarking this page, and by following @AmazonNews_IN on Twitter.