Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The company plans to mandate a policy that will require employees to be vaccinated in an attempt to fight the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant. Facebook also announced a vaccine mandate for U.S. employees on Wednesday.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email: “This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.” The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters and other U.S. offices before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates. The vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulators of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons, explaining “getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead.”
Facebook President of People Lori Goler said in a statement: “As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated. How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations.” Goler added that the company will have “a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”
The decision to require vaccines comes on the heels of similar moves affecting hundreds of thousands government workers in California and New York as part of stepped-up measures to fight the delta variant.
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