Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases from the Delta variant, Amazon announced on Thursday, August 5th, their decision to push back its office return date until early next year. This marks one of the most significant return date delays in the tech industry.
Amazon Delays Return to Office to 2022
The original date that the company planned to come back to the office was September 7 which has now been pushed to January 3, 2022, according to CNN Business. When back, employees will be required to wear masks inside the office unless they have shown proof of vaccination. Amazon lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated warehouse employees in late May after the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people can go without masks in most circumstances as long as it is in line with workplace and local business policies. Within the company’s announcement regarding their return to office guidance, Amazon stated that employees could expect a hybrid work model when they return in January. This standard will be three days in the office and two days remote.
Since the end of July, Amazon announced that they would stop offering on-site Covid-19 testing for warehouse and other in-person staff due to the wide availability of testing and vaccines. This does put pressure on workers to find their own testing sites. However, they plan to resume testing if official health guidance changes. Amazon remains to follow local regulations and guidance. Warehouse workers who have been vaccinated do not have to wear a mask unless required to do so by local directives. Those who aren’t vaccinated are required to wear a mask while at work.
Amazon reported that from March 1st to September 19th, 2020, almost 20,000 of its frontline employees either tested positive or were presumed positive for COVID-19.
More Large Tech Companies Delay their Reopening Plans
Many other large tech companies have also announced the push back to their office return date including Google who was originally set to reopen September 1. They will now return on October 18. Uber has announced that they will not reopen offices until October 25 while Apple is pushing its return date until at least October. Microsoft won’t allow workers back in the office until October 4 and Lyft will now reopen on February 2, 2022.
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