Amazon will no longer require its US warehouse employees to wear face masks in states where local laws do not require them, regardless of whether the employees are vaccinated or not.
The company informed workers of the updated policy over the weekend, according to an internal memo viewed by CNN Business. The change takes effect March 1.
In the memo, Amazon (AMZN) called the announcement an “exciting step in our path to normal operations.” The company said the change comes in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance that most people in the United States live in areas where they don’t need to wear masks indoors, if they’re healthy.
Amazon verified the accuracy of the internal memo but declined to comment further.
Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has raced to hire hundreds of thousands of workers to help with its fulfillment needs amid a surging demand for its products and services. But it has also faced scrutiny during that time from its workers and public officials over its safety precautions.
In late May, Amazon lifted its mask mandate for its fully vaccinated warehouse employees only to revive its requirement at various points due to the spread of new coronavirus variants. Earlier this month, Amazon lifted its mask mandate for its fully vaccinated warehouse employees in states where local law permits, but the updated policy will extend to all such employees throughout the country, no matter their vaccination status.
Amazon noted in the memo to employees that while masks will not be required, those who wish to continue wearing face coverings are welcome to do so. It also “strongly recommended” that those who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks at work.
Other retailers started to take similar steps even before the updated CDC guidance. Last week, Target said its US team members and shoppers are no longer required to wear masks, where local regulations allow.