Amazon Inc said it would not expect U.S. corporate employees to return to the office until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Seattle-based company said it was extending its work-from-home period to Jan. 3, 2022, from its earlier guidance of Sept. 7 for the United States.
“As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees,” the note said.
Amazon told a news portal ‘its employees’ health was its top priority and it will keep adhering to local government guidance for a safe office return. It said it will require masks in offices except for staff who verify they are fully vaccinated.
A spike in COVID-19 infections, powered by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, has prompted some big companies to put off plans to reopen offices. The United States is reporting the highest daily average number of infections globally, at 94,819, according to data gathered by a News portal.
Other companies that have postponed reopening plans include Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Lyft.
The delay affects the roughly 60,000 people working in Amazon’s offices in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, as well as tens of thousands more corporate Amazon employees worldwide. Amazon is Washington state’s largest private employer, and the delay in the return to office work will be a blow to the many downtown Seattle businesses that rely on the trade of tech workers.
The vast majority of Amazon’s 1.2 million-person global workforce is still expected to show up on-site to pack boxes, sort merchandise and load and unload trucks at Amazon warehouses.