Amazon Grocery Deliveries Move Into Fast Lane Again

Amazon worker

The waitlist to get a time slot on Amazon Fresh, Amazon’s grocery delivery arm, is now largely gone, a sign that the eCommerce giant is past bottlenecks caused by the global pandemic.

“We’ve removed the invite list in most cities, and more than 80 percent of eligible Prime members are able to shop without requesting an invitation,” an Amazon spokeswoman told CNET in a statement late Tuesday (May 12). 

After long delays to get anything delivered from Amazon, the company said things are speeding up and warehouses are stocked. The pandemic caused an unprecedented surge in demand for groceries, staples and other goods while supply chains collapsed amid the health crisis. In addition, Prime Pantry is also back after being unavailable for nearly two months.

“We removed quantity limits on products our suppliers can send to our fulfillment centers,” Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesman, told Digital Trends. “We continue to adhere to extensive health and safety measures to protect our associates as they pick, pack and ship products to customers, and are improving delivery speeds across our store.”

Last month Amazon prioritized delivering essential items — wellness, cleaning and non-perishable home essentials — and limited shipments for unnecessary goods. In March, Amazon told sellers it was temporarily stopping shipments of nonessential items to warehouses to make room for needed medical supplies and household staples.

The company also moved to hire more than 100,000 new employees in March and another in  75,000 in April. Amazon also upped hourly pay by $2 through the end of last month and then extended it through the end of May.

Amazon anticipates it will spend over $800 million in the first half of 2020 on COVID-19 safety measures such as masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer and gloves, the company said in a statement. 

The eCommerce giant also announced it was going to delay its Prime Day summer shopping event until August at the soonest.