Amazon eases warehouse mask rule once again

Deepak Gupta February 12, 2022
Updated 2022/02/12 at 12:42 PM

Amazon warehouse workers will no longer be required to wear masks in the workplace as long as they are fully vaccinated. According Wall Street Journal, the e-commerce giant told workers in a memo that it eased its mask requirements due to the “strong decline in COVID-19 cases nationwide in recent weeks.” It also cited rising US vaccination rates as “a positive sign” of its return “to normal operations”.

The company required all workers to wear masks again in December following a spike in COVID cases in the US caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. This came half a year after allowing fully vaccinated individuals to unmask while on the job, which some workers saw as a premature movement. Amazon made its decision the same week some states began rolling backwards its mask mandates and other pandemic restrictions. Walmart has give up your mask rule for workers vaccinated at the same time.

In addition to easing its mask mandate, Amazon is also ending paid leave for workers who contract COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated. Workers must finish their second jab by March 18 to qualify for paid leave. It remains to be seen how workers feel about this rule change, but Amazon has a history of conflict with its employees when it comes to COVID-related guidelines. In 2020, workers at its Staten Island warehouse sued the company, accusing it of failing to follow guidelines stated by the CDC and the New York government. Then, in 2021, Amazon agreed to pay $500,000 after the California attorney general found he withheld his true COVID-19 case numbers from workers.

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