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How return-to-office policies are shifting with US virus surge

Bloomberg Saturday | Updated on July 31, 2021

Vaccination gains top priority

A resurgence in Covid-19 cases has spurred US employers to backtrack on return-to-office plans and institute vaccination requirements for on-site workers. Here’s what major companies have said about their latest policies:

Walmart

The largest private employer in the US is requiring its headquarters and regional staff to be vaccinated by Oct. 4. The mandate covers all campus employees, as well as market, regional and divisional staff who work in multiple facilities, Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in a memo.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer also has told its frontline store and warehouse associates to don masks again, and doubled the cash incentive it’s providing for employees to get vaccinated to $150.

Walt Disney

The world’s biggest entertainment company will require all US salaried and non-union hourly employees working at its sites to be fully vaccinated. The Burbank, California-based company has begun talks with unions about a vaccine mandate for employees under collective bargaining agreements, according to an e-mailed statement.

Google

Alphabet Inc.’s Google pushed back its planned office return to October 18 from September. Workers who come to its campuses will be required to submit a proof of vaccination, CEO Sundar Pichai said in a note posted on Google’s blog.

Apple

The tech giant delayed its return-to-office plans to October, at the earliest, after previously saying corporate workers should be back at least three days a week by early September.

The Cupertino, California-based company is requiring masks at most of its US retail stores for both customers and staff, even those that are vaccinated.

Facebook

The social-media company is requiring vaccinations for workers coming to its US campuses, according to a statement. The Menlo Park, California-based company said it will have a process in place for people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, and will be “evaluating its approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”

Facebook has said it expects about 50% office capacity in the US by early September, with a full return by October.

Uber Technologies

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company postponed its planned return-to-office date to October 25 from September, and told employees it could be further delayed. Uber also will require employees in the office to be vaccinated and to wear a mask.

Lyft

Corporate employees for the San Francisco-based company now aren’t expected to be back in the office until February. Workers who come in on a voluntary basis will be required to be vaccinated.

Twitter

The social-media company shut its San Francisco and New York offices just two weeks after reopening them in July, and paused future reopenings, citing updated mask guidance from the CDC and “current conditions.”

Roblox

The video-game company, based in San Mateo, California, postponed its return-to-office date to January from mid-September. Workers may come in on a voluntary basis if they’re vaccinated.

Jefferies

Employees who want to go into the investment bank’s offices must be fully vaccinated, CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman said in a memo on the company’s website. Those who aren’t vaccinated will be required to continue to work from home after the Labor Day holiday.

New York Times

The media company’s plan to bring back workers in September was postponed indefinitely, the New York Times reported. Those who voluntarily go to the office must prove they’ve been vaccinated, the news outlet said, citing a memo to employees.

Washington Post

Employees are required to show proof of vaccination as a condition of employment when they return to the office, Publisher Fred Ryan said in a memo to staff. Workers with documented medical conditions and religious concerns will be exempted.

Post staff are expected to be in offices three days a week starting September 13, Ryan said.

Published on July 31, 2021

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