Amazon has unveiled plans to make in-store grocery shopping and online grocery delivery safer and more efficient during the current COVID-19 crisis. With social distancing measures in place across the globe and citizens staying inside their homes more often than not, grocery delivery has ramped up in importance causing Amazon and other grocery delivery services some struggle in meeting the unprecedented demand.

If you've attempted to shop Amazon Fresh over the past month, you may have noticed delivery is not available often which leaves customers no option to even schedule a delivery for several days in advance. This is all set to change with Amazon's new virtual "place in line" feature. While availability is still limited, you'll receive a notification that gives you a specific time window to shop Amazon Fresh which are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

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Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh's new virtual "place in line" feature is set to offer times when you can shop for grocery delivery. Sign up for free today if you're not already an Amazon Fresh shopper.

Increased safety protocols are now implemented across Amazon and Whole Foods Markets stores as well. Among them include daily employee temperature checks, masks and gloves distributed to workers, enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols, checks to ensure social distancing measures are properly taken, and adjusted store hours to allow employees more time to sanitize and restock.

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Meanwhile, grocery pickup is expanding at Whole Foods Market stores. In just the past several weeks, grocery pickup has jumped from being available at 80 stores to over 150 stores, and more are set to offer this service in the coming weeks. Amazon is also ramping up hiring to help meet demand in areas such as grocery delivery.

Temporarily, new Amazon Fresh customers will have to wait for an invitation to begin ordering using the delivery service. If you've never shopped with Amazon Fresh before, you'll want to click Sign Up on the Amazon Fresh homepage to request your invitation.

Whole Foods Market stores remain open, though with adjusted hours, for those looking to shop in-person. Customers ages 60 and over are able to enter and shop in the store one hour before it opens to the general public. Amazon announces these changes and more on the Amazon blog.

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