Amazon announced Thursday that it will further delay the return to its corporate office as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues its rapid spread, pushing what was initially a September deadline back to Jan. 3, 2022.
Amazon now joins a growing list of companies, including Apple, Google, Netflix, and Facebook, that are delaying their office reopenings, but has pushed its return date further than most, tentatively to 2022. About 30% of U.S. adults have not received a dose of a COVID vaccine, and the Delta variant now accounts for more than 93% of COVID-19 cases.
Some tech companies with retail operations, such as Apple, have reestablished mask mandates per new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advises even vaccinated individuals to wear masks. Others, like Google and Facebook, are taking safety precautions a step further, requiring that all employees be fully vaccinated before their return to the office.
Amazon, which had a reputation for high frontline employee turnover rates even before the pandemic, hasn’t yet mandated employee vaccinations. Though companies are legally allowed to do so, a vaccine mandate could turn away warehouse workers who are both in high demand across industries and crucial to Amazon’s continued operation.
Though many companies appear eager to return to in-office operation, some, like Google, have promised their employees at least 30 days advance notice before transitioning back to the office. The unpredictable nature of COVID-19 transmission has prompted increased flexibility and transparency across the board.
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