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Big tech companies flag vaccine mandates for employees returning to US offices
Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai. Source: Reuters
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  • As the Delta variant of COVID-19 drives a resurgence in coronavirus cases, big tech companies introduce fresh vaccine policies for United States workers
  • Google and Facebook say they will require all employees coming into offices in the US to be fully vaccinated
  • Apple has flagged a return to in-store mask policies for both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and workers
  • Meanwhile, Twitter says it will shut some recently re-opened offices in the US as the Delta variant accounts for almost 80 per cent of all coronavirus cases
  • The new rules from the tech giants come in light of fresh guidelines from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 drives a resurgence in coronavirus cases, big tech companies are introducing fresh vaccine policies for United States workers.

Google and Facebook are two companies introducing a vaccine mandate for employees, both saying this week employees will need to be fully vaccinated before being allowed to return to offices.

Google instituted a remote working policy back in March 2020 to help slow the spread of the virus.

This week, the CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, said in a blog post that getting vaccinated is now one of the most important ways for workers to keep themselves and their communities safe.

Mr Pichai said the company has started reopening its offices in areas with high vaccination rates, but will now require that any workers coming into offices in the US will need to have received their jab.

"Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated," Mr Pichai said.

"We're rolling this policy out in the US in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months."

He said the rules will vary based on local conditions and will not apply to areas without widely available vaccines.

Facebook has introduced a similar policy, with a spokesperson saying on Wednesday anyone coming in to work at any US campus will need to be vaccinated.

Like Google, Facebook said the actual implementation of the policy will depend on local conditions and regulations.

Apple hasn't gone as far as to require vaccines for employees, but plans to reintroduce mask requirements at most of its US stores for both staff and customers. This applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers and shoppers, Bloomberg reports.

Meanwhile, Twitter is shutting its recently re-opened offices in the US after it started allowing employees back into some campuses at 50 per cent capacity earlier this month.

The fresh round of coronavirus rules comes in light of the latest guidance from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which urges all Americans — even those who have received their jabs — to return to wearing masks in indoor places.

The Delta variant, which first emerged in India, now accounts for over 80 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the US as the government strives to get more people vaccinated.

Just under half of the United States population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with roughly 57 per cent having received at least one jab.

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