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Amazon putting new online grocery shoppers on a waiting list

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Amazon is putting new grocery delivery customers on a waiting list as it struggles with "unprecedented" demand for the service, the e-commerce company said Sunday. The company is also shortening shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores to give workers more time to handle online orders.

"We are temporarily asking new Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery and pickup customers to sign up for an invitation to use online grocery delivery and pickup," Amazon said on its corporate blog, adding that it would bring on new customers and expand capacity every week.

Amazon also said it would "adjust store hours for select Whole Foods Market locations to focus exclusively on fulfilling online grocery orders during this time."

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The e-commerce giant said it has seen growing demand for its delivery services as many Americans stay home to curb the spread of coronavirus. To meet that challenge, the company has shifted some of its warehouse workers to Whole Foods and boosted worker pay. It also has hired 100,000 additional workers in the past three weeks, and on Monday announced plans to hire 75,000 more.

Despite these measures, grocery delivery is in such demand that many shoppers have complained of being unable to schedule a time window to get food delivered. To address the issue, Amazon said it would be introducing a feature in coming weeks that would let online shoppers "wait in line" for a delivery window, it said.

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