Google will require coronavirus vaccines for returning office employees

Google will require its employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before they’re allowed to return to the company’s offices. “Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in an internal email the company shared on Wednesday. “Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead.”

Google will implement the policy in the US in the “coming weeks,” with other regions to follow in the months to come. The requirement won’t apply in an area until vaccines are widely accessible there, and the company says there will be an exception process in place for employees who can’t get immunized for medical or “other protected reasons.” Google hasn’t said what percentage of its employees are already vaccinated, but Pichai notes in the letter it’s been “encouraging to see very high vaccination rates for our Google community in areas where vaccines are widely available.”

In the same email, Pichai also announced Google is pushing back its return-to-office date. The company now hopes to have employees on a hybrid workweek by October 18th instead of September as previously planned. The announcement follows a similar decision from Apple in light of increasing COVID-19 caseloads in the US and many other parts of the world due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. “This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai said. “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.”

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