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Google mandates COVID vaccine as it delays return to office

Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

SAN RAMON, California — Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading Delta variant.

In an email sent today to Google’s more than 130,000 employees, CEO Sundar Pichai says the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning October 18 instead of its previous target date of September 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.

“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai writes.

And Pichai discloses that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters and other US offices before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates.

The vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulators of each location, Pichai writes, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons.

“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai explains.

Google’s decision to require vaccines to be in the office comes on the heels of similar moves affecting hundreds of thousands government workers in California and New York as part of stepped-up measures to fight the Delta variant.

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