Amazon surpasses Walmart as the largest retailer in the United States, signaling the end of mandatory masks.


Amazon surpasses Walmart as the largest retailer in the United States, signaling the end of mandatory masks.

Amazon reported on Wednesday that, beginning Monday, it would no longer require warehouse staff to wear face masks, unless otherwise necessary by law.

The staff must first confirm that they are completely vaccinated, according to an online update from the organization.

Staff must upload their COVID-19 vaccine records to an internal employee registry to check their vaccination status. Employees must either be 14 days or more past their final dose of vaccines for Pfizer or Moderna, or a single dose for Johnson & Johnson, in addition to having evidence of vaccinations.

Since March, when it started opening on-site vaccination clinics at select warehouses, Amazon has been pushing to get workers vaccinated. Amazon has clinics in more than 250 warehouses across the United States and Canada, according to CNBC.

Except where state or local laws require staff to continue wearing masks, the new rule takes effect on Monday for employees in the United States. Due to local rules, Amazon’s website has a list of warehouse locations where the new regulation does not apply.

“All visitors must continue to wear face coverings as specified by Amazon safety procedures,” according to the website’s updated page on employee COVID policy.

The e-commerce firm has previously been chastised for failing to adequately protect its employees from the coronavirus. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Amazon on February 16, alleging the company’s “flagrant disregard for health and safety standards” during the pandemic, which placed employees and the general public in danger. In two New York plants, including a Staten Island warehouse where a worker died of COVID-19, the firm was accused of inappropriate touch tracing and inadequate hygiene, according to the complaint.

To discourage James from filing her complaint, Amazon filed its own lawsuit ahead of time. In April, James filed a motion to dismiss Amazon’s lawsuit against the state. Both lawsuits are now pending.

Amazon joins a growing number of businesses that have lifted mask requirements since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people no long have to cover their faces indoors. Trader Joe’s, Costco, Walmart, Chipotle, Target, Starbucks and Kroger are among the largest companies that have ended their mask requirements.

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