Google Ends Vaccine Mandate For U.S. Workers, Prepares For Return To Office
Signage at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Alphabet Inc. is expected to release earnings figures on February 1.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tech giant Google has announced an end to its company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. workers as it prepares for staff members to return to its home office.

The report comes as virus numbers have fallen low enough for the company to reopen its San Francisco area headquarters and bring workers back to the office three days a week after nearly two years of pandemic restrictions.

Google Real Estate and Workplace Services VP David Radcliffe sent a message to workers stating the company is “lifting the testing requirement imposed in January, which applied even to vaccinated employees,” according to a CNBC report.

“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.

“Unvaccinated employees who are approved to enter offices will still need to follow additional protocols, including testing and wearing a mask,” however, according to the message from Radcliffe.

Google noted the change as part of a hybrid work model that will include at least three days per week in the office for most employees. The update comes after numerous delays in a return to its physical location over multiple surges and variants, most recently including the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

In addition to reopening its physical office, Google’s headquarters plans to soon restart other pre-pandemic activities. Some of the items mentioned in the staff message included shuttle services, reopening its fitness centers, and opening its informal spaces such as lounges and game rooms.

The changes come following a Supreme Court victory against the Biden administration’s large employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Daily Wire and others appealed to the Supreme Court to block the order after the Sixth Circuit lifted a stay put in place by the Fifth Circuit.

“OSHA’s COVID–19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard, 86 Fed. Reg. 61402, is stayed pending disposition of the applicants’ petitions for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and disposition of the applicants’ petitions for writs of certiorari, if such writs are timely sought. Should the petitions for writs of certiorari be denied, this order shall terminate automatically. In the event the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted, the order shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court,” the court concluded in a 6-3 decision.

President Joe Biden released a statement after the ruling that continued to urge private employers to implement their own vaccine requirements after the Supreme Court blocked his mandate on businesses with more than 100 employees.

“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” Biden said. “This emergency standard allowed employers to require vaccinations or to permit workers to refuse to be vaccinated, so long as they were tested once a week and wore a mask at work: a very modest burden.”

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