Amazon bans new grocery customers as it looks to hire 75,000 more staff

Amazon has stopped accepting orders from new grocery customers as it struggles to keep up with a dramatic increase in demand for its delivery services.

Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime now customers who are using the service for the first time to buy groceries are now being put on a wait list indefinitely amid an increasing lack of available delivery slots.

Meanwhile Amazon invited “anyone out of work” to come and work for it “until things return to normal” as it sought to hire 75,000 new workers in a further bid to meet skyrocketing demand.

The world’s largest retailer began putting new customers on a wait list on Monday while it worked on adding new capacity for its online grocery service.

READ MORE: Amazon closes Prime Pantry indefinitely as it struggles to meet demand

It has also nearly doubled the amount of Whole Foods stores which offer in store pick up of online orders, expanding from 80 to 150 locations.

According to Amazon demand for its online grocery service has jumped 60 per cent since the start of the pandemic, which usually offers customers delivery in a number of hours.

This spike in demand forced it to close down its Amazon Pantry service at the end of March and prioritise the delivery of only essential items from its warehouses dealing with non-food orders.

“We still expect the combination of restricted capacity due to social distancing and customer demand will continue to make finding available delivery windows challenging for customers,” Amazon’s vice president of grocery Stephenie Landry said.

“If you are able to do so safely, we kindly encourage our customers who can to shop in-person.”

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