A person wears a face mask outside Google’s offices in Chelsea as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 29, 2020 in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is extending its office return for employees until Oct. 18 amid the latest Covid-19 outbreaks.
In an email to employees Wednesday, Pichai also said the company will require anyone coming to the office to be vaccinated, beginning in the U.S. in coming weeks.
Pichai’s note represents the second delay in office returns for its workforce of more than 130,000-plus employees amid the ongoing pandemic. In December, Google delayed return to offices to September 1, after which employees would be required to work in-person for at least three days a week.
“We are excited that we’ve started to re-open our campuses and encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so,” Pichai stated in his email. “At the same time, we recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office.”
Pichai said the company will monitor the data carefully and let employees know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return to office plans. He also noted that employees in “special circumstances” will be able to apply to work from home for the remainder of the year.
Covid cases have been rising in all 50 states as the more contagious delta variant has been spreading, particularly among unvaccinated communities. Earlier this month, Apple delayed its return-to-work plans until October, and the State of California this week announced that all state workers would be required to show proof of vaccination by Aug. 2. President Biden is expected to make a similar announcement for federal workers in a speech on Thursday.
Despite the setback, Pichai sounded an optimistic tone in his note. “Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead,” he added. “I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen.”