(Reuters) -Apple Inc is delaying its return to corporate offices to January at the earliest because of surging COVID-19 cases and new variants, Bloomberg News reported https://bloom.bg/3gihpBW on Friday, citing a staff memo.
The spread of the highly infectious Delta variant and the announcement of new guidelines from a U.S. health agency have forced companies in the United States to rethink their plans on vaccinations, masking and return to office.
Several big companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Uber Technologies Inc, have mandated vaccinations for their U.S. employees. Facebook Inc has pushed back its office return date for all U.S. employees until January 2022.
Apple itself had previously delayed its return to corporate offices until October, according to media reports, changing its stance from June when it asked employees to work from its offices for at least three days a week from early September.(https://reut.rs/3mjuIG4)
Apple did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
According to the Bloomberg report, the iPhone maker told staff it would confirm the re-opening timeline one month before employees are required to return to the office.
The company also does not expect to shutter its offices or retail stores but urged employees to get vaccinated, the report stated.
The memo, sent to staff on Thursday, also said the company was increasing its testing program to as many as three at-home coronavirus tests per week, the report added.
(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)