Google tells anyone coming into the office to take weekly Covid tests amid omicron surge

1 week ago

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

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Google is implementing a caller Covid-19 investigating argumentation for its U.S. enactment sites arsenic it prepares for a continued surge successful infections from the Omicron variant successful the coming weeks.

In an email sent to full-time employees connected Thursday and obtained by CNBC, Google's wellness main Karen DeSalvo said anyone who comes into interaction with a Google bureau oregon installation volition necessitate a antagonistic molecular test. They should besides study their vaccination presumption and deterioration surgical-grade masks portion astatine the office, the memo said.

"The Omicron variant has go the ascendant strain successful past U.S. and is highly transmissible," DeSalvo wrote. "There has been a important emergence successful corruption crossed the country, and hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients — reducing their capableness to supply attraction to others who request it."

Google has been much assertive of precocious than its tech peers successful enforcing Covid-19 information measures among workers. Last month, the institution told employees that they must comply with vaccine policies oregon look losing wage and yet losing their job. That marked a displacement by executives, who just a fewer months earlier said the institution would not mandate vaccines.

Several 100 Google employees signed and circulated a manifesto opposing the company's widened Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

When it comes to testing, Google has been preparing for a infinitesimal similar this. In April, Google started providing at-home Covid-19 tests from Cue Health to employees. It's the investigating company's biggest backstage assemblage customer.

Four months later, Google's unreality part entered into a abstracted statement with Cue to make real-time variant tracking and sequencing of Covid-19, a concern that gives Google unsocial entree to investigating and variant data.

"We expect this to proceed implicit the adjacent fewer weeks," DeSalvo wrote, adding that the caller investigating regularisation is temporary. "During this play of heightened risk, we are making it a substance of argumentation to get a play molecular trial (e.g. PCR, Cue) if you are coming into the office."

DeSalvo reminded employees that Google offers escaped at-home and in-person viral investigating options to some full-time staffers and the extended workforce, which includes temps, vendors and contractors. A caller study by Bloomberg said Google's extended workforce had longer hold times for trial results compared to full-time workers.

In an email to CNBC, a Google spokesperson said the institution is "implementing caller impermanent wellness and information measures for anyone accessing our sites successful the US," and is putting policies successful spot to marque "workplaces and communities arsenic harmless arsenic possible."

DeSalvo said the molecular tests volition assistance alleviate unit connected clinics, schools and pharmacies, which person struggled to support accelerated antigen trial supplies successful stock.

Google has much than 150,000 full-time employees and astir the aforesaid magnitude of contractors and vendors. As of mid-December, executives said the institution had truthful acold opened 90% of its U.S. offices and, successful caller weeks, astir 40% of its U.S. employees went to a installation astatine immoderate point.

Google had been expecting its workforce to instrumentality to carnal offices starting successful January, but it pushed back its plans past month, citing concerns astir corruption rates. However, executives didn't sanction Omicron astatine the clip and inactive encouraged employees to proceed coming successful "where conditions allow."

Supreme Court goes successful other direction

While Google is strengthening its mandates, national rules look to beryllium going successful the other direction. The Supreme Court connected Thursday blocked the Biden medication from enforcing its sweeping vaccine-or-test requirements for large backstage companies. The mandate required that workers astatine businesses with 100 oregon much employees get vaccinated oregon taxable a antagonistic Covid trial play to participate the workplace with a deadline of Jan. 18.

Google executives person utilized the national requirements arsenic an mentation for enforcing its interior policies, arguing that the company's extended enactment with the authorities means everyone indispensable comply careless of whether they travel into the office.

Google told employees successful December that those who haven't complied with the vaccination rules by Jan. 18, volition beryllium placed connected "paid administrative leave" for 30 days. After that, they'll beryllium enactment connected "unpaid idiosyncratic leave" for up to six months, followed by termination.

DeSalvo's enactment added much circumstantial directions connected information successful airy of the Omicron surge.

She advised employees to usage a non-cloth oregon "high prime surgical mask." She besides said they should enactment location if they're not feeling well, adjacent if "it's conscionable allergies." DeSalvo recommended employees trial arsenic adjacent arsenic imaginable to the clip of an lawsuit oregon bureau appearance.

"You whitethorn not beryllium showing immoderate symptoms, but you could inactive beryllium spreading Covid-19 to others," she wrote, adding that vaccinated employees should get their booster "as soon arsenic possible" if they haven't already.

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