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Amazon to end on-site Covid testing for warehouse workers

<i>Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Amazon said it will end its on-site Covid-19 testing for US warehouse workers this month.
AFP via Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Amazon said it will end its on-site Covid-19 testing for US warehouse workers this month.

By Sara Ashley O’Brien, CNN Business

Amazon said it will end its on-site Covid-19 testing for US warehouse workers this month as it continues to peel back some pandemic-related safety measures inside its facilities.

The company notified workers that it will cease offering on-site testing after July 30, according to a notification Amazon shared with workers in its employee app, called A to Z, viewed by CNN Business. The company cited that Covid-19 testing and vaccines are now widely available.

Amazon confirmed to CNN Business that it will begin ramping down its US testing operations by that date. The company did not immediately respond to a question about whether it would provide workers with time off to get tested, if necessary.

The change comes as workers continue to receive notifications from the company about confirmed cases of the virus inside facilities, and amid the growing spread of the Delta variant. Amazon said it could resume its employee testing program at any point if needed. In February, the company said its newly built Covid-19 testing lab in Kentucky had processed more than 1 million tests for frontline employees from more than 700 testing sites.

For Amazon, workplace safety has been a heated topic since the start of the pandemic. In October, Amazon said more than 19,000 of its front-line US employees at Amazon and Whole Foods had tested positive or been presumed positive for the coronavirus. It was the first time the company shed light on how its workforce had been affected by Covid-19 after months of both internal and external pressure for more transparency.

The company has frequently touted its over 150 safety-related updates to ensure the health and safety of its employees, some of which it has started to pull back in recent months. In late May, Amazon informed workers that it would lift its mask mandate for its fully vaccinated warehouse employees. That change came after guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can go without masks in most circumstances as long as it is in line with workplace and local business policies.

Amazon announced earlier this year that its frontline employees can receive $40 per vaccine dose as compensation for time spent getting vaccinated off-site. In late March, the company began offering on-site vaccinations for employees at select locations.

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