Twitter Closes Re-Opened US Offices, Big Tech Firms Make COVID-19 Vaccination Mandatory as Delta Cases Surge

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Twitter is shutting its reopened offices in United States, while other big tech companies are making vaccination mandatory for on-campus employees, as the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant drives a resurgence in cases.

Alphabet’s Google and Facebook said on Wednesday all US employees must get vaccinated to step into offices. Google is also planning to expand its vaccination drive to other regions in the coming months.

Twitter, which on Wednesday also paused future office reopenings, had started allowing employees back to its campuses in San Francisco and New York at 50 percent capacity about a fortnight ago after more than 16 months.

US coronavirus cases have been rising due to the Delta variant, which emerged in India but has quickly spread and now accounts for more than 80 percent of US coronavirus cases.

Health authorities on Tuesday said Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly.

San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Lyft, which had already made vaccinations mandatory for employees returning to the office, postponed its reopening to February from September.

“We anticipate the COVID situation will remain fluid for the upcoming months, making it difficult for us to land a clear return date without a possibility of moving it again,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in a memo to staff.

According to a Deadline report, streaming giant Netflix has also implemented a policy mandating vaccinations for the cast and crew on all its US productions.

Apple plans to restore its mask requirement policy at most of its US retail stores, both for customers and staff, even if they are vaccinated, Bloomberg News reported.

Apple and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Many tech companies including Microsoft and Uber have said they expect employees to return to offices, months after pandemic-induced lockdowns forced them to shift to working from home.

Google also said on Wednesday it would extend its work-from-home policy through October 18 due to a recent rise in cases caused by the Delta variant across different regions.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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