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I'm feeling lucky: Google, Facebook say workers must be vaccinated before they return to offices

As web search giant stalls end to work-from-home to mid-October

Updated Google employees can continue working from home until October 18 – after the web giant pushed back the date for staff to return to its offices from mid-September.

Some of the search giant’s US campuses are open right now, and people can choose to go in if they want to. By mid-October, most staff are expected to return. However, they will have to be vaccinated. CEO Sundar Pichai laid out the rules in an email to staff on Wednesday.

“First, anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the US in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months. The implementation will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area,” he said.

“Second, we are extending our global voluntary work-from-home policy through October 18 ... We recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office. This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.”

Facebook also announced that employees will need to be vaccinated before they can head back to their desks some time in autumn, CNBC reported.

Google isn’t the first tech corp to delay its office return date. Last week, Apple decided it would reopen in October, too, a month later than planned. Other companies, like Twitter, Salesforce, and Microsoft are operating some of their offices at lower capacities.

Amazon is also giving some staff the flexibility to work remotely and go back to their desks. People who work in some roles, like sales or marketing, won’t need to go into the office, whereas hardware engineers can.

The particularly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading around America and the wider world. So much so, Uncle Sam's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends people “wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission” regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

“We’ll continue watching the data carefully and let you know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return to office plans,” Pichai concluded. ®

Updated to add

Twitter has closed its San Francisco and New York City offices a couple of weeks after reopening them, due to the Delta variant sweeping the nation, and LinkedIn will allow its people to work fully remote after earlier saying it expects staff to spend half their week at the office when COVID-19 restrictions lift.

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