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Amazon will end onsite COVID-19 testing at its US warehouses

Amazon has informed workers that it will end on-site COVID-19 testing at its US warehouses, as first reported by The Information. The company confirmed to The Verge that it will begin ramping down its testing operations in the US by July 30th.

Although many in the US are vaccinated — 48 percent of the country is fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’ data as of Monday — the change comes as case rates around the country are going up. The significant majority of new cases have been found among unvaccinated people.

Amazon informed staff Monday about its plan to end COVID-19 testing, according to The Information. “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,” part of the message reportedly said.

The company had instituted a massive testing operation, saying in October that it planned to handle 50,000 tests per day across 650 sites by November. And as of May 19th, Amazon no longer required masks for fully vaccinated warehouse workers unless otherwise mandated by local laws, according to CNBC. Although the company hasn’t required that warehouse workers be vaccinated, it is encouraging it by offering bonuses of up to $80 for getting vaccinated.

But workers at some warehouses walked out early in the pandemic to protest the company’s handling of the virus at its facilities. Sometimes, Amazon left workers in the dark when their colleagues had tested positive for the virus, for example. In June, the company also started selling a $39.99 at-home COVID-19 test that is available for consumers.

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Amazon will resume its employee testing program if there is a change in guidance from local or national public health officials, the company tells The Verge.