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Google delays planned return to offices as Delta cases rise

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Employees at Google have been told that the company will delay their return to the office and will require them to be vaccinated as coronavirus infection rates continue to rise.

In an email, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, told staff that offices would reopen on October 1, more than a month later than planned. Google had asked all staff to return for at least three days a week from September 1.

“We encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so,” Pichai said. “At the same time, we recognise that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office.”

The more contagious Delta variant has been spreading rapidly in America. Several companies, including Apple, have pushed back their reopening plans. Facebook also announced that it would require its US workers to be vaccinated before coming into the office.

Lori Goler, vice-president of human resources, said: “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.”

Pichai, 49, said that “in the coming weeks” vaccination would be required for all US staff and that this would extend to the global workforce.

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