Google no longer requires its US-based employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CNBC. However, there is still a policy that requires staffers to be vaccinated before returning to the office, according to The New York Times†
“We do not currently enforce vaccination requirements as a benefit of U.S. office workers,” Google spokesperson Lora Lee Erickson said in a statement. The edge after we first published this article. “We will continue to implement our vaccination policies that require COVID-19 vaccinations or approved accommodations for individuals visiting our sites as it is one of the most important ways we can protect our workforce and keep our services running.” In addition, only employees at Google’s Santa Clara County offices are required to wear face masks in the office, Erickson says.
CNBC also shared details from a memo sent to staff by David Radcliffe, Google’s VP of real estate and workplace services. Google is lifting a policy that requires anyone entering a Google facility, even vaccinated staff members, to undergo a negative COVID-19 molecular test.
“However, unvaccinated employees who are allowed to enter offices will still have to follow additional protocols, including testing and wearing a mask, Radcliffe’s note said,” according to CNBC.
Google is also easing policies on some of its famous amenities, CNBC reports:
Radcliffe also wrote that the company is reopening amenities such as no-appointment fitness centers and massages; restoring the entire shuttle service; adding more places to eat breakfast and lunch for free; and opening “all casual spaces” such as lounges, game rooms, music rooms, and massage chairs.
The company said in December it would wait until 2022 to determine its return to office plans. When employees are expected to return in person, Google has already pledged to notify them for 30 days. The company has also outlined plans for a hybrid workweek where it expects most employees to be in the office three days a week.
Apple has also begun easing its COVID-19 policy as it has dropped mask requirements for customers shopping at its Apple stores in several states. Apple may drop mandate for store employees to wear masks too “within two weeks,” according to a tweet from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman†
Update February 23, 8:28 PM ET: Added statement from Google.