Swamped by a flood of orders by consumers hunkering down at home due to the coronavirus, Amazon is closing its Prime Pantry food-delivery service nationwide for an unspecified period of time so it can restock.
"Pantry is temporarily closed. We're busy restocking," states a notice posted on its website, citing "high order volumes" as underlying the closure. "This means that items listed as 'Ships & Sold from Pantry' cannot be added to your cart. We apologize for this inconvenience, and are working with our partners to get these items back in stock as quickly as possible."
Amazon could not say when the delivery service would resume, only that it's working to refurbish supplies as quickly as it can.
"Amazon Pantry is not accepting new orders at this time while we work to fulfill open orders and restock items following increased demand," the company said in an emailed statement. "We are working hard to make these products available again and will update customers once we can take new orders."
Launched in 2014, Prime Pantry offers non-perishable groceries like cereal and pasta sauce and household products to Prime members.
According to the notice, consumers can still buy similar grocery and household necessities through the company's Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods outlets. That said, "due to high demand, other stores may have limited availability and delivery."
Amazon's same-day and next-day grocery delivery services have also experienced delays, with Prime Now and Amazon Fresh delivery windows hard to come by — or non-existent in parts of the country — for days at a time.
The COVID-19 outbreak has hordes of American shoppers ordering groceries online, overwhelming online retailers and leading to shortages of products including.
Amazon on Monday said it is looking to hire 100,000 people across the U.S. to keep up with the crush of online orders as the virus spreads and keeps more people at home and shopping online.