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Google employees want vaccine policy changes after COVID outbreak

After a multitude of COVID exposure notifications, Google employees are calling the decision to return to in-person work into question.

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Following Google efforts to get employees to return to in-person office work, with the company requiring most employees to be in the office at least three days a week, many have expressed frustration following a wealth of COVID exposure notifications that have resulted from the decision.

In speaking to outlets like CNBC, employees have noted that these exposure notifications pop up in their email inboxes on a regular basis, which has led to many creating memes on Google's internal meme generator, Memegen, to express their frustration. Furthermore, outbreaks of COVID at Google headquarters in Los Angeles are currently among the largest of any employer in the area, with Deadline reporting 145 infections at the Venice location, and 135 cases at the Playa Vista campus.

It doesn’t help that not only are infections occurring due to in-person work, but employees have also reported large COVID spikes from locations like Mountain View and San Francisco following egregious “return-to-office celebrations” including one where Lizzo performed for thousands of employees at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

Older example of Google's Memegen showing memes featuring the Golden Girls and walking puffin bird.
An older example of Google's Memegen sourced from Wired.

Not all Google employees are frustrated about the rise in COVID cases, though, as some have asked the company to drop its vaccine mandate in a “Googlers for No Vaccine Mandate” manifesto shared this month. According to anonymous employees pushing back on vaccination requirements, as reported by CNBC, “COVID outbreaks keep happening anyway” even in offices where all employees are fully vaccinated.

Currently, employees that are not vaccinated are banned from returning to the office as well as attending offsite office gatherings and events. Many report having not met with team members since March of 2020 due to their vaccination status.

Google headquarters showing front of large glass building with Google logo and a row of colorful bikes.
© Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock

The situation as a whole is a bit ironic given that one group of Google employees are expressing serious, valid concerns over the growing number of COVID exposure notifications as a result of in-person office work. Meanwhile, other employees are attempting to seemingly reduce protective measures even further by asking that non-vaccinated employees be allowed to return to in-person work and events.

As always, we’d love to hear your opinion on the situation at Google. What do you think of the situation, and what do you think Google can do to help reduce the number of COVID infections that are being reported? Let us know in Chatty!

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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