With the Delta variant being the dominant variant in the US, being responsible for 83% of the cases reported in the country, major tech companies in the US are starting to require their employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office. This includes Google, Facebook, Lyft, and Netflix so far.
The US currently only has 48% of its population fully vaccinated, leading many to be cautious for another big wave. As many offices are still closed, companies are starting to push back the dates for returning back to offices as cases rise higher every day.
Facebook says they’re on track to opening all of their US offices by October, with flexible work-related options for their workers. They have stated that all workers who plan on coming into their offices have to be vaccinated.
How would this be implemented? The vice president of Facebook, Lori Goler, had this to say on the matter. “How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves. We continue to work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone’s health and safety.”
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, has also stated that Google employees must be vaccinated before returning to the offices. They plan to open their offices back up sometime in September to mid-October, and will be trying out flexible work weeks. Google is also one of the first major tech companies to enact such measures.
Apple has joined Google in pushing back the return to offices due to COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant. Apple has stated that they plan on opening up their offices to October at the earliest. They have not commented on vaccination regulations yet, but have said that customers and staff in their retail stores need to wear masks even if they are vaccinated.
Lyft will also require employees to be vaccinated before returning to offices, while Uber has stated that unvaccinated workers can return as long as they wear a mask.
Netflix will require the casts and some crew on all of its US productions to be vaccinated as well, as a measure to combat the Delta variant spreading across the country. They are also the first major studio to announce such a policy in the US.
As COVID-19 rates rise, the CDC recommends that vaccinated people should still wear their masks in public, especially in indoor settings. The Biden administration is reportedly planning to announce that all federal workers should be vaccinated or face frequent testing, and this new directive is planned to launch on Thursday.