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Amazon to require masks in warehouses

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Starting Monday, all employees will have to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status and regardless of COVID-19 spread in the area.

NEW YORK — Starting Monday, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial COVID-19 transmission.

Amazon said Friday that its call for a nationwide mask mandate for its warehouse workers was in response to the spread of COVID-19 variants in the U.S., and guidance from public health authorities and its own medical experts. Amazon has been requiring only warehouse workers not vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks.

Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said last week that rising coronavirus infections linked to the delta variant are pushing the company to get more workers vaccinated. It’s also working with local authorities on safety measures.

So far, Seattle-based Amazon has not required its employees to be vaccinated. But Disney and Walmart announced vaccine mandates for white-collar workers, and Microsoft, Google and Facebook said they will require proof of vaccination for employees and visitors to their U.S. offices.

Earlier this week, Tyson Foods announced it will require all U.S. employees to get vaccinated by November, becoming one of the first major employers of front-line workers to do so amid surging cases of the virus.

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