Amazon warehouses close following virus ruling

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Amazon will close its warehouses in France for several days after a court ordered the company to limit deliveries to essential goods such as food and medical supplies.

The company's decision to close its six warehouses in the country follows a ruling by a French court that the ecommerce giant could be fined €1m for every non-essential item shipped. While Amazon does plan to appeal the ruling, it will shut down its warehouses in France from at least April 16 to April 20 as the risk that it could come into conflict with the court's decision is too high.

In a statement to The Verge (opens in new tab), an Amazon spokesperson provided further details on its current situation in France, saying:

“Following the judgement of a French court on Tuesday, we have to temporarily suspend operations in our Fulfilment Centres in France. This is in spite of the huge investment we made in additional safety measures to keep our hard-working, dedicated colleagues safe, while ensuring they had continued employment at this difficult time. Our FC operations are complex and varied, and with the punitive 1M euro per incident fines imposed by the court, the risk was too high. We remain perplexed by the court’s decision, which was made in spite of the overwhelming evidence we provided about the safety measures we have implemented, and have launched an appeal.”

Warehouse closures

Amazon has faced increased pressure both in the US and overseas for how it has handled health and safety concerns during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Financial Times (opens in new tab), more than 50 of the company's facilities have confirmed Covid-19 cases though the ecommerce giant is now building its own testing lab (opens in new tab) to ensure that its operations continue to run smoothly.

In France, the trade union Union Syndicale Solidaires has filed complaints pushing for additional oversight into how Amazon is handling health issues during the pandemic while calling for the closure of its facilities due to overcrowding.

To continue to serve its French customers now that its fulfillment centers have been temporarily closed, Amazon will use its Marketplace sellers and “robust global fulfillment network”.

Via The Verge (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.