Amazon reinstates mandatory mask rules and pushes back return to office until 2022

Amazon has reintroduced mandatory mask wearing for all employees and pushed back its return to office guidance until next year.

Amazon has become the latest major company to reinstate COVID-19 safety measures as the highly infectious ‘Delta variant’ runs rampant across the US.

Late last month Amazon announced plans to significantly reduce its coronavirus safety procedures, scrapping its social distancing enforcement crew, stopping on-site testing and allowing employees to work without a mask.

The retail giant has now made a sharp U-turn on its policy amid a worrying spike in coronavirus cases, almost entirely spread by unvaccinated citizens, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

READ MORE: Amazon workers fear for safety as COVID rules relaxed despite spike in cases

Until now Amazon has allowed employees who could prove they had been fully vaccinated attend work without a mask, but on Friday announced that all employees must wear a face covering regardless of their vaccination status.

It had also planned to begin welcoming staff back to its offices from September 7 on a regular basis, but has now pushed this guidance back to January 3 2022 in the US.

The guidance is understood to extend to its office workers in the UK.

“As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees in the US and other countries where we had previously anticipated that employees would begin coming in regularly (next month),” Amazon stated.

The US saw 36,000 new cases yesterday, hitting levels not seen since the start of the year.

Globally, COVID-19 cases surpassed 200 million over the weekend, including nearly 4.3 million deaths.

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