Tyson Foods announced that it would be dropping its mask requirement for all employees who have been fully vaccinated. The company joins other major U.S. employers such as Amazon and Walmart in slowly removing COVID-19 restrictions and returning to pre-pandemic operations.

Tyson's senior vice president of health and safety, Tom Brower, said in a memo to employees that starting this week all of its workers will no longer be required to wear masks if they have been fully vaccinated. The memorandum applies to all of the company's 137,000 employees in the U.S. The company has more than 240 facilities nationwide, most of which are poultry processing plants.

Last year, the company had issued a mandate for all employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of November. During that time, Brower said that he wanted the company to have "America's first vaccinated workforce."

Tyson's decision to drop its mask-wearing mandate comes just days after Amazon and Walmart also announced that they would no longer be requiring vaccinated workers to wear masks. The companies only required masks to be worn in states where there are existing local mandates.

Late last week, Walmart informed its 1.6 million U.S. employees that those who are completely vaccinated would no longer be forced to wear face masks in any Walmart or Sam's Club location unless state or local legislation requires it.

Masks will still be required for unvaccinated personnel, as well as those working in health clinics and pharmacies. The company said that while masks are no longer required, it fully supports and respects workers who choose to wear them at work.

Amazon also made the same announcement last week,  informing all of its employees that are fully vaccinated have the option not to wear masks while they work. Amazon said the amended policy is subject to local restrictions and is fully based on recommendations from public health authorities as well as its own medical professionals.

Amazon initially announced in August that all warehouse workers, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks. The mandate was issued following a new wave of cases connected to the Delta variant.

As virus infections and hospitalization rates decline, a number of state governors have announced that mask laws will be phased out. Masking in public indoor settings in high-transmission areas, which still includes most of the country, is still recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.