Tuesday, July 27

Amazon to stop testing warehouse workers for COVID-19 amid rising case rates and low vaccination rates in some states


  • Amazon plans to stop onsite COVID-19 tests for its warehouse workers, The Information reported.
  • The change comes despite rising case rates and low vaccine rates in many states.
  • Amazon declined to share details about positive cases or vaccination rates among its workforce.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon told employees it plans to stop offering onsite COVID-19 tests for its warehouse workers on July 30, The Information reported Monday.

In a note sent to employees via an internal app, Amazon said past safety measures had put the company on a “path to normal” and that “free COVID-19 testing is now widely available and our employees have many options available to them, including through health providers and public testing sites,” according to The Information.

Amazon first rolled out a pilot of its testing program around May 2020, eventually expanding it to around 650 locations in November as case counts rose.

Amazon told Insider it’s starting to scale back testing because of the progress it had observed among its workforce and the general public, that it’s continuing to evaluate temporary safety measures rolled out during the pandemic to ensure they’re aligned with guidance from public health officials, and that it’s prepared to resume testing as needed.

But Amazon’s decision to wind down testing now comes despite COVID-19 case counts rising again in the US, the Delta variant continuing to spread, and less than 50% of the public being fully vaccinated in more than half of US states — all of which Amazon has operations in.

An Amazon worker in Minnesota told The Information the company has already started rolling back other safety measures as well, including routine temperature checks, though it’s still requiring unvaccinated workers to wear masks.

Amazon has required warehouse, delivery, and other logistics workers, deemed “essential,” to continue working in person throughout the pandemic to help the company keep up with surging demand, while many corporate employees have been able to work from home.

Amid reports of employees not being informed about COVID-19 cases in their workplaces and criticism over its lack of transparency, Amazon said in October it had identified more than 19,000 positive cases among its frontline workers, though experts called the study flawed and incomplete, Bloomberg reported.

Amazon hasn’t shared data publicly since October, and declined Insider’s request for current case counts or vaccination rates among its workforce.



www.businessinsider.com

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