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caption: Amazon employees and their parents are reflected leaving the Day 1 Building during Amazon's bring your parents to work day on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Seattle.
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Amazon employees and their parents are reflected leaving the Day 1 Building during Amazon's bring your parents to work day on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

How Amazon is responding to the coronavirus pandemic

In addition to creating a global health care crisis, COVID-19 is initiating an economic crisis.

Amazon is reacting globally and locally.

The company is forgiving late rent payments from tenants with shops and restaurants in buildings it owns for March and April. Amazon is also continuing to pay hourly workers.

Amazon is also creating a $5 million small business relief fund to help businesses in the Regrade, South Lake Union, and Bellevue neighborhoods that are hurting, as Amazon workers are now doing their jobs from home.

The tech giant also says it is hiring 100,000 people globally to help it deal with the extra demand it's seeing at its warehouses and food operations.

In Washington state, 3,000 hires are expected. Jobs are being posted here.

Additionally, Amazon plans to spend $350 million across the globe, notching up salaries of workers. The company also says it's establishing a $25 million relief fund to support delivery service workers and seasonal employees in distress.

The company also says it's focusing on the needs of customers.

Amazon is making room in its warehouses for essential goods and medical supplies by telling sellers not to send more non-essential items until April 5. The company acknowledges this may cause disruption for some vendor and sellers, but says this is a temporary measure and that goods already in transit will still be accepted at warehouses.

All of this is happening at a time of vast opportunity for Amazon. As people's movements decline and more people retreat from public spaces, ordering on Amazon might be top of mind.

A dicey trip to the grocery store can be replaced by an Amazon grocery order. The impossible library trip becomes a book ordered on Amazon.com. The toilet paper or wipes you can't find when and where you want can be obtained on Amazon.