Apple, Facebook, and Google have started the New Year off with announcements of new COVID-19 mandates.
Facebook parent Meta Platforms has delayed its return to office and also announced its requirements of a booster vaccination for all employees, reported CNBC. Meta has been among the first Silicon Valley companies to require booster shots for employees.
Return to Meta offices across the U.S. is not expected until late March. The company had previously planned their return for Jan. 31. Meta stated it intends for the pushback to offer employees more time to plan their transition back to the office amid the current surge.
“We’re focused on making sure our employees continue to have choices about where they work given the current Covid-19 landscape,” Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement to CNBC. “We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them.”
Beginning Mar. 28, proof of a booster shot will be required to enter Meta offices. Employees who hope to continue working remotely after this date will be required to request a deferral, which will last between three and five months.
Apple has followed in Meta’s footsteps, also announcing strict booster requirements for all employees. The Verge reported that once Apple employees are eligible to get a booster shot, they will have four weeks to comply.
Starting Feb. 15, if an employee fails to receive the booster shot, they will be required to undergo frequent COVID-19 tests to enter a retail store, partner store, or Apple office.
“Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease,” Apple states in an internal memo seen by The Verge.
Fully unvaccinated Apple employees will need to provide negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests before entering the workplace starting Jan. 24.
Google has yet to mandate booster shots. However, the company said earlier this month it will temporarily issue weekly COVID-19 tests for any person entering offices or facilities. Along with a negative test result, employees must also wear surgical-grade masks in Google facilities.
“To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 during this period of heightened risk, we’re implementing new temporary health and safety measures for anyone accessing our sites in the U.S.,” a Google spokesperson said to Reuters.
These new protocols follow after hundreds of Google employees signed a manifesto stating their opposition to the company’s vaccination mandates in early December.