Amazon reinstates mask mandates across all of its warehouses

"We hope this will only be required for the winter."

Brendan McDermid / reuters

Workers in Amazon's considerable warehousing operations will be required to wear masks, again. The shift comes as US cases have spiked again due to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, and will apply to all "operations facilities, FCs [fulfillment centers], sort centers, and delivery stations," effective today, according to an email shared with Engadget.

Amazon made temperature checks and masking a requirement in April of last year. It allowed individuals who were 14 or more days past their final dose of the vaccine to unmask in May. That decision was seen, at least by some workers, as premature.

"You may choose to wear your own two-layered, reusable and/or disposable cloth face covering, as long as it complies with site safety requirements (e.g. no long scarves, bandanas, or gaiters)" the email reads, "If you do not have one, face coverings will be available for you to wear upon entering the building." The company wrote that it hopes the requirement will only last the winter.

While laudable that the company is attempting to reduce transmission of the virus during its busiest season, Amazon does not have the sunniest track record where COVID precautions are concerned. Workers at several locations raised concerns that they were not being informed when positive case were discovered at their facilities. In California, the company was fined $500,000 for "concealing" cases from workers.

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