The increase in new coronavirus cases has changed Amazon's plans to bring office employees back next month. Tech and corporate workers in the US and some foreign offices now don't have to return until Jan. 3, the Seattle Times reports. Other companies, some in the tech field, have made adjustments as the outbreak has worsened, though Microsoft, Google, and Facebook still plan to reopen offices in October. But Amazon will differ from Google and Facebook in that it won't require the returning workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. A spokesperson said the company nonetheless will encourage employees to get the shots. Amazon workers will have to wear masks in the offices unless they show proof of vaccination, per CNBC.
The company backtracked in June after upsetting employees by implying they'd be back in the office this fall. An internal survey last year showed just 8% of corporate staff members wanted to be in the office full time. Most of Amazon's employees are still required to work in person, preparing orders at warehouses and loading and unloading trucks. The warehouse workers aren't all thrilled with that situation; COVID-19 testing at warehouses is ending. "Amazon had some of the best preventative care against the virus I've seen," a worker at an Arizona warehouse said, per the Seattle Times. "But recently they want to do away with a majority of the practices that have kept us safe during the pandemic." The worker said it's frustrating to think Amazon would protect corporate employees more than warehouse workers. (Read more Amazon stories.)