Tech giants making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for on-campus employees

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Big technology companies in the US are making vaccination mandatory for on-campus employees, while Twitter is shutting its reopened offices in the country, as the Delta COVID-19 variant drives a resurgence in cases.

Last day, Google and Facebook stated that all of its 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. The announcement marks Google and Facebook as one of the first major technology companies to require that employees be vaccinated before they return to work. 

The US-based microblogging platform Twitter, which 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, paused future office reopenings.

The coronavirus cases in the US 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. Earlier this week, Health authorities 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-19 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 Mr. Logan Green said in a memo to staff.

According to reports, streaming giant Netflix has implemented a policy mandating vaccinations for the cast and crew on all its US productions. Apple is also planning to restore its mask requirement policy at most of its US retail stores, both for customers and staff, even if they are vaccinated.

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.

Related: Apple pushes back return to offices with the rise in COVID-19 cases