Google is requiring anyone traveling to a U.S. office or facility to be tested for COVID-19 and come back negative, according to a memo obtained by CNBC on Thursday. In the memo, Chief Health Officer Karen DeSalvo said employees who frequent the office must be tested weekly, and employees are required to report their vaccinations and wear medical masks indoors.
Google spokeswoman Lora Lee Erickson confirmed to The Verge that a new interim COVID-19 policy is now in place that “anyone entering US campuses is required to obtain a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to coming to the site” and that it Various tests are being offered for free.
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Erickson said Google is offering free at-home testing to full-time and contract workers through BioIQ’s PCR-based nasal swab test, but Bloomberg reported this week that full-time employees can also get Cue Health’s molecular test, with results in minutes. Contractors, on the other hand, were exclusively given mail-in BioIQ tests, meaning they had to wait longer for results, according to a tweet from the Alphabet union. Some Google contractors in the company’s data centers can use the Cue machines for quick field tests, Erickson said.
The changes come amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant. The new policies complement Google’s December directive requiring employees to get vaccinated or risk being furloughed and ultimately fired. The company delayed the mandatory return to the office until sometime in August this year.
This week, Meda also stepped up its health policy for employees, requiring anyone returning to the office when it opens in late March to receive a booster dose of the vaccine.