Amazon Requires Masks Again at All U.S. Warehouses
Amazon told workers that it changed the mask policy “in response to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant,” and it hoped the mandate would be necessary only in the winter.
Amazon reinstated a mask mandate for all employees in its U.S. warehouses starting on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant spreads nationwide and the company makes a final shipping push before Christmas.
Amazon previously had mask mandates at its U.S. warehouses but most recently required masks only for employees who were not fully vaccinated, unless local authorities said otherwise.
About two-thirds of Amazon’s workers were vaccinated as of November, according to data compiled by the Shift Project at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The company has about 750,000 warehouse workers in the United States.
Amazon told workers in a notification on the employee app on Tuesday that it changed the mask policy “in response to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in the U.S. and guidance from public health authorities and our own medical experts.” It told workers it hoped the mandate would be necessary only in the winter and would be lifted “further into 2022.”
The company also told workers in New York on Tuesday that they needed to provide proof of at least one dose of vaccination by Dec. 27, when the city’s vaccine mandate takes effect. It was unclear what would happen to workers who did not comply.
“We are working through the process now for any individual who hasn’t received their first dose or submitted a request for accommodation,” the notification said.
Amazon declined to comment beyond the notifications to workers.