As lockdown continues, more and more people are relying on the internet to order essentials to save them having to venture out.
And while many will likely turn to online delivery companies such as Amazon, concerns have been raised about the handling of parcels.
It comes after Edinburgh Live reported how a Scottish worker at a depot in Dunfermline tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month.
Contractors have since been brought in to carry out a deep clean, but employees raised concerns about the spread of Covid-19 and the lack of personal protection equipment for staff.
One employee, who asked to remain anonymous through fear of being disciplined told Edinburgh Live: “Amazon in Dunfermline has now had its first confirmed case of Covid-19 and has temporarily closed three customer return lines for specialist cleaning.
“The person in question was sent home. Where else could they have touched? What about the turnstiles, the doors, the canteen, the toilets?
“The person was working on decant which means he was touching all the boxes being sent down the line and was moving pallets as well.
“Any box he has touched will have been processed by numerous people and then sent back to the pick tower.
“They’ll then be touched again by pickers before being sent off to customers.
“The potential for spreading this is huge considering there’s between 500 and 1000 people on day shift and about the same working at night, all in close proximity with each other.
“Even team leads and managers are saying we should be closed however they’re just bringing in new starts left, right and centre to cover the absences.”
Amazon say that the likelihood of catching the virus from a package that has been transported is “low.”
An Amazon spokeswoman said: “Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with local authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings.
“We have implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance…and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries.
“The health of our people is our top priority, and it’s important to us that they remain home if they’re sick or if they or someone in their home has had a fever in the last 24 hours.
“To support our people during this time we have increased entitlement to paid time off and are enabling people to take leaves of absence as appropriate. “
Here is a list of frequently asked questions amid he coronavirus crisis.
Can I place an order? Will Amazon deliver my parcel?
Yes, Amazon continues to serve customers. You can check the current delivery times at order checkout or via My Orders in your account.
When selecting a delivery address, be aware that companies and businesses may be closed and unable to receive parcels.
Are delivery times affected?
As the coronavirus has spread, Amazon has seen an increase in people shopping online.
To serve you while also helping to ensure the safety of employees, they say they have prioritised stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for customers.
These are items such as food, health and personal care products and items needed to work from home.
As a result, estimated delivery times for some items may be longer than usual.
Is it possible to return items?
Yes, you can continue to return items. To start a return, go to My Orders and select “Return or Replace Item”.
Is it safe to receive orders?
According to the World Health Organisation, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes Covid-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
Is it possible to reduce contact with the driver when they deliver my order?
Yes. Amazon’s delivery associates and partners have been advised to reduce contact with customers, this may include placing packages at the customer’s doorstep and stepping back.
If an ID check is required, the driver will complete the check at a distance.
You can also choose a safe place location where the driver can leave your package if you can’t answer the door.
Drivers are asked to follow your delivery preference where possible.
You are able to set your delivery preference during checkout on the review your order screen by clicking on add delivery instructions and selecting your desired safe place option.
In order to protect customers and their neighbours, Amazon is temporarily suspending the ability to deliver your order to a neighbour.
Where can I learn more about Amazon distribution of Covid-19 testing kits?
The Government has asked Amazon to partner with them – alongside other retailers, life science companies and academic institutions – to aid in the fast-track of testing for the coronavirus (Covid-19).
You can find more information here.
Are Amazon pickup locations available for delivery?
Yes, they are working with location partners to ensure that where possible Amazon Hub Locker and Counter locations remain available.
If the Locker or Counter location you chose for delivery closes unexpectedly, our Customer Service team will reach out to redirect your parcel to a home address or cancel your order for a refund.
If your preferred location is temporarily unavailable, you can search for available locations here.
What is Amazon doing about price gouging?
“We’re working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products, such as food, or health and personal care products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items, in line with our long-standing policy.
“We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policy.”
Is Amazon still delivering large and bulky items?
Yes, Amazon is still delivering large and bulky items.
However, your safety and that of our providers is our number one priority.
Therefore, they’re pausing in-home services until further notice and deliveries requiring two people to handle.
Customers are responsible for moving the item from their front door to their desired location within their property.
For the moment, they will also stop all in-home installation services.
Do you have any more Prime Now & fresh delivery availability?
“We’re experiencing an increase in demand for Prime Now and Amazon Fresh and are working hard to increase delivery availability.”
What is Amazon doing to keep customers and employees safe?
“Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with health authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and teams.
“We have implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance in our buildings, and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries. Read more here.”
How do I make a donation to support those who are most affected by the Covid-19 crisis?
Donations to the British Red Cross can be made by clicking here. Or you can simply ask “Alexa, make a donation to the coronavirus relief fund”.