Amazon officially drops mask mandates for warehouse workers

About 39.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated, the CDC says

Amazon on Monday officially joined a growing list of major retailers and grocers that have dropped mandatory mask mandates for fully vaccinated Americans.    

Unless required by state or local laws, any warehouse employee who has hit the two-week mark from their final required dose is allowed to stop covering up. 

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Workers will have to present their vaccine cards showing that it has been two weeks since both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

"A HUGE thank you to everyone who has and continues to prioritize our COVID-19 safety measures," the company said in a memo to employees. "The last 14 months have not always been easy, but your dedication continues to be appreciated by leaders and customers across the country. We cannot wait to see your smile."

An Amazon worker stows packages into special containers after Amazon robots deliver separated packages by ZIP code at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The move comes after major companies, including Kroger, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, Wegmans, Costco and CVS, adjusted their requirements for customers and workers in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest guidance. 

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In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the CDC eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people last week, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. 

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing," Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said during a White House briefing earlier this month. 

However, some workers have raised concerns over companies lifting mask mandates. One of them is 60-year-old Elaine Lyon, a cashier at an Albertsons Cos.-owned Safeway store in Seattle, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

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"One of the things not taken into account is how many people we see," Lyon told the Journal. "We have people at home who are not vaccinated."

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, stressed that the relaxed rules make it harder for front-line workers. First, they were "forced to play mask police throughout the pandemic" but are now being asked to "be the vaccination police," he said. 

The issue, Perrone said, is that "it is virtually impossible" to tell if someone is fully vaccinated. 

"Before the new CDC mask guidance, we knew that unmasked shoppers were ignoring COVID safety measures and likely unvaccinated, so we knew to keep our distance if we were concerned," Perrone added. 

According to the CDC, about 39.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated. 

FOX Business' Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.