In a message acquired by CNBC on Thursday, Google warned staff that anybody visiting one of its US offices or facilities must have gotten a negative COVID-19 molecular test. Employees who come to work on a regular basis will be checked weekly, according to chief health officer Karen DeSalvo’s message, and they will be required to disclose their vaccination status and wear surgical-grade masks indoors.
Google spokesperson Lora Lee Erickson confirmed to The Verge that a new temporary COVID-19 policy is now in effect, stating that “anyone accessing our sites in the US is expected to obtain a recent negative COVID-19 molecular test before coming onsite,” and that the company is providing a variety of tests for free.
According to Erickson, Google provides free at-home testing to full-time employees and contract workers using BioIQ’s PCR-based nose swab tests, but full-time employees also have access to Cue Health’s molecular tests, which may provide findings in just a few minutes. According to a tweet from the Alphabet Workers Union, contractors are being offered the mail-in BioIQ tests, which means they will have to wait longer for a response. However, according to Erickson, some Google contractors working in the company’s datacenters have access to Cue computers for speedy on-site testing.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country, and the omicron version is spreading. These new regulations complement Google’s December edict, which required employees to be vaccinated or face being forced to take leave and potentially fired. The corporation decided to postpone the necessary return to work until August of this year.
Meta also tightened its staff health regulations this week, requiring anybody returning to the company’s headquarters by the end of March to have taken a booster dosage of a vaccination.