Google has postponed until mid-October the return to the office of most of its workers and will require everyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time it reopens its massive facility in a bid to combat the delta variant.
In an email Wednesday to its more than 130,000 employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company wants to have most of its workers back in the office starting Oct. 18 instead of the previous date of Sept. 1. The decision affects tens of thousands of contractors that Google continues to pay while limiting access to its facilities.
This extension will give us time to resume work while providing flexibility to those who need it, Pichai wrote.
The executive said that once the offices reopen, everyone who works there will need to be vaccinated. The requirement will apply initially to the Mountain View, California, headquarters and other U.S. offices and then to the more than 40 countries where Google operates.
The vaccine order will conform to the laws and regulations of each location, and exceptions will be made for medical and other protected reasons, Pichai wrote.
Another tech powerhouse, Apple, also postponed its plans to return to the office from September to October.
Apple’s and Google’s decisions could convince other large employers to take similar precautions. The tech sector has been at the forefront of the transition to remote work triggered by the spread of the coronavirus.