Amazon moves back-to-the-office plans to January 2022

Companies encourages workers to get COVID vaccines, mask up at work

Amazon moves back-to-the-office plans to January 2022
Vaccinated workers had been able to work at Amazon mask-free since late May.

Amazon is pushing back its target date for bringing workers back in the office.

“As we continue to closely watch conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees in the U.S. and other countries where we had previously anticipated our employees would begin coming in regularly the week of Sept. 7,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon human resources chief, in an email to employees, according to a report from The Seattle Times.

“We are now extending this date to Jan. 3, 2022.”

The delay affects the roughly 60,000 people working in Amazon's offices in Seattle and Bellevue, Wash., as well as tens of thousands more corporate Amazon employees worldwide, according to a report from CBC.

Max Your Vax

Meanwhile, the company is encouraging its employees to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots. To do this, Amazon will offer cash prizes of as much as US$500,000 as well as cars and vacation packages to frontline employees who can prove they have been vaccinated.

“We strongly believe that the best way to protect our front-line employees and communities from Covid-19 is through vaccinations,” said Kelly Nantel, Amazon spokesperson, in an email to employees, according to a report from Bloomberg. “And we are proud to have hosted more than 1,100 on-site vaccination events to help make getting a vaccination as easy as possible for our employees and their household members.”

The Max Your Vax campaign will persuade those who are still unsure whether or not to get the jab, according to the report.

Vaccinated workers had been able to work at Amazon mask-free since late May.

Illinois is also providing incentives to some lucky state employees who work in direct care facilities and receive at least one dose of the vaccine.

In May, the company brought into Canada its WorkingWell program, which provides employees with scientifically proven physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support.

Put your mask on!

Earlier this week, Amazon also started requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The rule came into effect on Monday, Aug. 9.

Other retailers, including Walmart and Target, have also mandated masks for their workers.

In April, Ontario said it is investigating possible labour law violations at an Amazon warehouse in Brampton that was ordered to shut down because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 begin wearing masks indoors once again in places with high transmission rates.

Earlier this month, several groups came together to launch World Mask Week 2021.