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Amazon the latest to delay return-to-office plans amid rising COVID-19 cases

The company told employees that they won't be required to return to their offices until January.


Inside Amazon's corporate headquarters in Seattle.

James Martin/CNET
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Amazon told employees Thursday that they won't be required to return to their offices until January. It's the latest in a string of delays for the return-to-work plans of major tech companies, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

"We have adjusted our plans for corporate employees in the US and other countries where we had previously anticipated that employees would begin coming in regularly the week of Sept. 7, by extending this date to Jan. 3, 2022," Amazon confirmed to CNET in a statement.

The move would align Amazon with other major tech corporations that are rethinking their plans for a return to the office. In late July, Twitter took the step of closing its opened offices in New York and San Francisco, and pausing future reopenings as well. Apple reportedly pushed its return-to-work date back a month, telling employees to stay at home till October. Google instituted a similar delay until October, and took the additional measure of requiring employees to get vaccinated before returning to their workspaces. Facebook, too, said it'll require employees to get vaccinated before they head back to the office.

Amazon hasn't taken the step of mandating vaccines for its workforce, but the company requires employees to wear masks at the office, with the exception of those who are verified to be fully vaccinated.

"We will continue to follow local government guidance and work closely with leading medical health care professionals, gathering their advice and recommendations as we go forward to ensure our work spaces are optimized for the safety of our teams," Amazon said in a statement.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just under 350 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the US as of Aug. 5, with 49.9% of the population fully vaccinated and 58% having received at least one dose. As of Aug. 2, 69.6% of the population 12 and up in Washington state, where Amazon's headquarters are located, had received at least one dose of the vaccine.