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French court orders Amazon to continue only fulfilling essential orders

The company could face daily fines of up to one million euros.
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A man crosses a street as he delivers an Amazon parcel in Paris on March 19, 2020, on the third day of a strict lockdown in France to stop the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIPPE LOPEZ via Getty Images

A court in France has ruled that Amazon should only fulfill orders for essential products, like food and hygiene and medical products, TechCrunch reports. The court gave Amazon 24 hours to comply, and the company could face a penalty of one million euros for every day it fails to do so. To start, the ruling is valid for one month.

Amazon had already stopped taking orders for some non-essential items in France and Italy, and it was prioritizing more critical deliveries -- things like groceries, health products, household items, personal care, industrial goods, scientific products and pet supplies. Now, Amazon has no choice but to restrict deliveries even further in France.

The issue was brought to court by a union, Sud Solidaires, which sought to have Amazon’s warehouses shut down altogether to protect employees. While the ruling doesn’t go that far, the court wrote that Amazon “has obviously disregarded its obligation of safety and prevention of the health of employees,” L’Obs reported, adding that the company disagrees with the decision.

Meanwhile, in the US, Amazon announced today that sellers can resume shipping non-essential items to warehouses. Amazon had previously limited those products to make room for medical and cleaning products. After employee backlash, Amazon has also vowed to increase worker protections, but it is still facing criticism for firing at least one employee who led a coronavirus protest.

Engadget has reached out to Amazon for comment.

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