Vaccinated Amazon employees can remove their masks at work as tech giant adjusts COVID policies

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An Amazon employee enters a fulfillment center in Kent, Wash., and is handed a mask, from another employee using tongs, before he can begin a shift in the massive package handling warehouse. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon employees vaccinated against COVID-19 can ditch their masks starting Friday, the company said in an internal memo on Thursday. The change in policy applies to all workers, in office buildings, operations facilities and elsewhere.

Face coverings remain required for anyone entering facilities who is not fully vaccinated and for employees who have not logged their vaccination status in Amazon’s A to Z internal reporting tool. Doing so gets those workers a sticker for their ID badge.

Amazon said it was following guidance from public health authorities and its own medical experts as COVID cases have seen a sharp decline across the U.S.

“This is a positive sign we can return to the path to normal operations,” Amazon said in the memo, which was provided by the company to GeekWire and first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

A worker in an Amazon fulfillment center. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon also announced that it will no longer offer paid leave to unvaccinated employees who have to miss work because of COVID illness. Employees who have received at least one shot and have logged their status in the company’s system will still be eligible.

The company said that unless otherwise required by federal, state, or local law, employees who are not yet vaccinated and/or have not logged their vaccination(s) will receive unpaid, excused time off to isolate/quarantine for seven days.

Amazon currently offers $40 and one day of unpaid time off per vaccine dose, including boosters, when those shots are logged with the company.

“Vaccinations are widely available and the benefit is clear: being fully vaccinated and getting a booster is the best way to protect yourself,” Amazon said.



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