A French court ordered Amazon France to limit online selling activities to essential goods only; or be at risk of paying fines of €1 million per day. The ruling specifically stated that deliveries, only for food, medical and hygiene products ordered online, will be allowed.
The court ruling upholds a petition put forward by Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD, France’s largest labour union organization. The petition called for the closure or a clampdown on some of Amazon France’s operations while the Covid-19 pandemic still threatens the health and safety of the online store’s workers.
About a month ago,hundreds of workers employed by many of Amazon’s processing stations in France, had walked out to exercise their right to refuse working under unsafe conditions.
According to hundreds of protesters, they were being forced to carry out tasks while in close proximity to each other.
Notwithstanding that such conditions were in violation of the nationwide social distancing order and ban on mass public gatherings, issued by the French government some time in March.
Actually, the issue also stems from claims that Amazon France refuses to pay for furloughs of those who do not report for work out of fear for the coronavirus contagion. That is despite the French government’s willingness to subsidize paid furloughs upon the request of eligible employers.
What Exactly are Essential items, Products and Businesses?
When government leaders imposed lockdowns, consumers were caught unaware that the order includes shutdown of businesses offering products, services or facilities regarded as nonessential in nature. However, it turned out that not all national or state governments follow a uniform list of businesses or products recognised as essential.
Unlike other countries, France allows pastry shops, delicatessens and liquor stores to operate separately from supermarkets and grocery stores. While the UK government also found it necessary to add liquor stores to the country’s list of essential businesses, it also became necessary to include bicycle repair shops and bicycle retailers. Mainly because most Britons are now using them as alternative means of transport and for exercise purposes.
In the U.S. some state governments include accredited gun retailers and marijuana dispensaries as essential businesses.
Apparently the indicators that define essential businesses are also dependent on what a country or culture recognizes as essential to the well-being, comfort and safety of its people.
The Need to Expand Essential Businesses in Conjunction with Lockdown Period Extensions
As residents face prolonged periods of life under lockdown, there is also the need for governments to re-examine their list of essential businesses and products. Certain items falling under the nonessential category prior to lockdown, have now become necessary; not only for the physical but mental well-being of residents.
To help keep peace and order within households, especially where there are children around, simple things such as children’s toys and educational materials have become necessities.
Teenagers ordered to stay at home have been overusing gaming devices, music and home entertainment appurtenance and related accessories. Parents are now looking hard for repair shops and retail outlets, before feelings of restlessness overcome their teenage sons and/or daughters once lockdown periods are extended . .
Even mothers, in their role as housekeepers, are finding it difficult to keep up with the laundry chores, as bath and kitchen towels, as well as bed linens are getting soiledmore often than before. Since carpet cleaning services are not available, the possibility of dust mite and bed bug infestations in matress and upholstered furniture, are likely to happen .
Lucky for those who live in countries that do not impose bans on nonessential online purchases. Households can always turn to online stores when buying some of the items they need in order to overcome the difficulties of living life under lockdown orders.
As an aside, housewives looking to protect their matresses against infestations should consider looking for the best mattress encasement for bed bugs.