E-commerce giant Amazon will completely close its French distribution centres for a week, This decision follows a court ruling prohibiting the online retailer from selling products other than those deemed essential, as it would not take sufficient measures against Covid-19.
Improving safety measures
Following the conviction on Wednesday, Amazon has decided to completely close all of its French distribution centres. These will remain completely closed from 16 to 21 April, to allow an assessment of the security situation and a better organisation of the warehouses to protect employees from possible contamination.
A French judge ruled that compliance with the safety requirements in force during the coronavirus crisis could not be sufficiently guaranteed for the employees working in Amazons distribution centres. The judge ordered Amazon to sell only essential products and to temporarily suspend shipment of all other categories of items, even though this way Amazon would lose about 60 % of its turnover.
Amazon says it was perplexed by the verdict, as it had already taken many health and safety measures, but it now sees no other option than to close its warehouses completely. According to the French newspaper Capital, the company said in a communication to the trade unions that it considered it impossible to assess the health risks in the warehouses while continuing to work.
The closure will start "at the end of the morning shift" on 16 April and might still be be extended. Consumers can still place orders with Amazon's marketplace vendors who store and ship their goods themselves, operating independently of the platform's distribution centres. Amazon wants to use the temporary unemployment scheme for its employees.