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Amazon France to stay closed for two more days

Amazon France, the French branch of the online retail giant, is to remain closed for two more days - until Wednesday April 22 - pending an appeal to a court order to limit its activities nationwide.

The company closed all six of its warehouses and stopped all deliveries in France on Thursday April 16, after a court in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine, ‎Île-de-France) ordered it to deliver only “essential” items - such as food, health or medical products. This represents barely 10% of its usual deliveries.

Read more: Amazon France must stop all ‘non-essential’ deliveries

The court found that Amazon was continuing to operate “as if nothing was amiss” during the Covid-19 crisis, and had failed to put in place reassurances and safety measures for its warehouse staff. Staff were “going to work feeling terrified that they may catch the virus”, said the union Sud Solidaire, which brought the case.

The court added that if the company did not respect the ruling, and make changes, Amazon France would be fined €1 million per offence per day.

In response, the company closed its warehouses to evaluate the situation in its warehouses and see if further security measures could be put in place. It had planned to re-open today (Monday April 20).

Read more: Amazon closes warehouses, no deliveries in France

But now the company has announced that its warehouses will remain closed for an extra two days, in the hope that it will obtain a reversal of the court order on Tuesday (April 21).

In a statement given to the Agence France-Presse, Amazon said: “We remain perplexed at the decision of the court in Nanterre that was handed down last week, and we await with interest to see that our appeal is heard. We will temporarily maintain the suspension of activity of our French distribution centres.”

The Amazon France warehouses employ around 10,000 workers, who have been asked to stay at home during the closure, on full 100% pay. Amazon has not requested government assistance - using the partial unemployment (chômage partiel) scheme - during the stoppage.

It had already reduced its activity during confinement, but the union argued it had not gone far enough to protect them.

Sellers on Amazon who do not stock their products at Amazon’s warehouses can continue to deliver orders directly to customers.

Customers can also continue to make orders for products that are sent from outside of France.

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