Google relaxes pandemic rules for US employees

As Google prepares to bring workers back to its offices, the company is relaxing some of its Covid-19 workplace policies, including a rule requiring US employees to be vaccinated. But workers will still need to be vaccinated if they plan to use company offices.

In an email to San Francisco Bay Area employees last week, Google said it was easing some of its pandemic restrictions. It will no longer require employees to be tested weekly to enter its US offices. Additionally, it won’t require staff to wear masks in the office, with the exception of Santa Clara County, which is home to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

Google also said it plans to restore many of its famous office amenities, such as fitness centers, cafeterias, massage services and commuter shuttles. CNBC reported the policy change earlier.

“Based on current conditions in the Bay Area, we are excited that our employees who choose to come now have the option to access more onsite spaces and services,” Google wrote in a statement.

Separately, the company dropped its requirement for U.S. employees to provide proof of their vaccination status or apply for a medical or religious exemption, said Google spokeswoman Lora Lee Erickson.

Last year, Google said employees who failed to do so would be placed on administrative leave and could potentially be fired. Ms Erickson did not explain why the company changed its position.

Like many companies, Google has had to adapt its policies to the frequently changing conditions of the pandemic. He has repeatedly pushed back plans for when he will ask employees to start working a hybrid schedule that mixes remote work and time in the office.

Google’s offices are a key part of its work culture, and the company has resisted total remoteness like other tech companies.

Instead of a global mandate, Google has repeatedly said it will allow different regions to determine when to start requiring workers to come in a few times a week. In the United States, Google said it was still assessing the right time to start its hybrid work schedule and had not set a date for workers to return to the office.

While returning to the office is always voluntary, Google said about 30% of its Bay Area employees entered the office last week.

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