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Amazon delays return-to-office plan until January on virus surge

People stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York.
People stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York.Mark Lennihan/Associated Press/File 2019

Amazon says corporate employees won’t have to return to the office regularly until January, becoming the latest big company to postpone its resumption of regular work habits as COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant surge in the US.

The online retailer told employees in an e-mail on Thursday that they should plan to begin coming in to offices the week of Jan. 3. Amazon had previously said its office workers in the US and several other countries should resume their jobs mostly on-site beginning the week of Sept. 7. A company spokesperson confirmed the new Jan. 3 date, but declined further comment on Amazon’s return-to-work plans. The details were reported earlier by GeekWire.

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The mandate will apply to office workers in the Boston area, a company spokesman said. Amazon, headquartered in Seattle, employs more than 20,000 workers in Massachusetts, including corporate and logistics employees.

Roughly 4,000 workers are employed in the Boston and Cambridge area, with another 3,000 workers likely to be added in the coming years. A company spokesman could not confirm whether plans to house 2,000 workers in the Seaport District by early next year remain on schedule, or will be delayed because of the new return-to-office date. (Amazon also has major offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, the Los Angeles area, and the site of its new campus under construction near Washington, D.C.)

The company’s Seattle-area neighbor, Microsoft Corp., earlier this week delayed its office-return plans until October, and said it would require employees and visitors to show proof of vaccination before entering its facilities.

Fellow tech giants Google and Facebook have recently mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for employees who go to the office. Google and Apple delayed their return-to-office plans until October and Apple said it would require workers in some stores to resume masking, regardless of vaccination status. BlackRock and Wells Fargo & Co. also pushed back their return-to-work targets to October, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

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Amazon has stopped short of a vaccine mandate for its corporate staffers or the hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers and logistics employees who pack and ship items. The company said it will require employees to wear masks in its offices, except for those that have proof of full vaccination.

Pranshu Verma of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.