Amazon Reinstates Mask Requirement For US Warehouse Staff

Amazon has brought back its mask requirement for all US staff in its warehouses, amid surging Covid infections in America because of the Delta variant.

The change comes after Amazon seemed to be easing restrictions in its warehouses. Last month for example it ended its on-site testing of US warehouse workers for Coronavirus on 30 July, despite ongoing infections in the United States.

In late May, Amazon had also lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated warehouse staff.

COVID Commerce

Facemask rule

But last week there was an indication that Amazon’s relaxation of rules was changing.

The e-commerce giant confirmed last week a surprising delay for its staff to return to the corporate office or campus.

Unlike many big name tech rivals that have delayed staff returns until early October, Amazon confirmed that office staff could now only return by 3 January 2022 at the earliest.

And then soon after that announcement, Amazon confirmed to CNN that all of Amazon’s US warehouse employees will once again be required to wear masks indoors beginning on Monday.

The back-to-back announcements highlight how one of America’s largest employers is rethinking its coronavirus policies in the face of rising infections linked to the Delta variant.

“In response to the concerning spread of new Covid-19 variants in the US and guidance from public health authorities and our own medical experts, we are requiring face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, was quoted as saying a statement to CNN.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to follow local government guidance and work closely with leading medical healthcare professionals, gathering their advice and recommendations as we go forward to ensure our buildings are optimised for the safety of our teams,” Nantel added.

Vaccine mandate?

Amazon has yet to articulate its position about requiring staff to be vaccinated.

Uber for example last week mandated all of its US staff have to be vaccinated against Coronavirus before returning to the office later this year.

Facebook and Google have recently announced they will require their staff to be vaccinated, when they return to offices or campuses.

Facebook last week also ordered its staff returning to the office or campus, to wear a mask as well.

But for now, Amazon does not appear to be taking that step: Amazon’s Nantel reportedly declined to comment on whether the company is considering a vaccine mandate.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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