Google has ended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its U.S. employees, making the move as it prepares to reopen its home office to staff members after two years of pandemic restrictions.
CNBC reports that the tech giant ended its requirement for employees to be fully vaccinated as numbers have fallen low enough for the company to reopen its offices in San Francisco, where employees will come to work three days a week.
In a message to the company, Google Real Estate and Workplace Services VP David Radcliffe informed employees that the company is “lifting the testing requirement imposed in January, which applied even to vaccinated employees,” the publication reported.
“In addition, Google is dropping its social distancing requirement and masks for vaccinated employees in most areas, noting that the few cities still requiring masks are likely to drop them soon,” the report added.
The change is part of the company’s hybrid work model that will include at least three days a week for most employees, coming after numerous delays in a reopening of its head offices due to previous surges and variants, including Omicron.
“Since then, the labor market has tightened, employees have grumbled about missing perks, and workers have voiced their desire to remain working remotely,” CNBC reported.
Additionally, Google plans to restart some of its pre-pandemic activities, including shuttle services, fitness centers, and informal spaces like game rooms and employee lounges.
Radcliffe’s note says Bay Area offices are lifting the testing requirement imposed in January, which applied even to vaccinated employees.
In addition, Google is dropping its social distancing requirement and masks for vaccinated employees in most areas, noting that the few cities still requiring masks are likely to drop them soon.
Google is also reversing course on requiring vaccination for employment for U.S. employees, according to Google spokesperson Lora Lee Erickson. In November, CNBC reported the company told employees that they must comply with vaccine policies or they’d face loss of pay and eventually loss of employment.
Employees who choose to work from home can continue to do so, said Google spokesperson Lora Lee Erickson, who added that the company is pleased its employees who choose to work at the office can now have the ability to access on-site spaces and services to reconnect with their coworkers.