San Francisco– As the Omicron variant threat looms, Google is reconsidering its plans to ask full-time employees to return to offices by January 10.

According to an email from Google VP Chris Rackow, seen by CNBC, Google will not be requiring its employees to return to offices on January 10 as expected after all.

The company has changed its return to work plans several times as the pandemic evolved.

In August, when the delta variant was a top concern, Google had announced plans for hybrid return-to-work till January 10, 2022.

Rackow said in the email that full-time employees will wait until the new year to assess when US offices can safely return to a “stable, long-term working environment.”

“None of the US locations will adopt the hybrid working mandate on January 10 as planned,” he added.

Rackow said that Google will allow specific locations to decide their timelines for returning their respective local workforces to the office.

Apple is reportedly asking employees to return to offices starting February 1 as part of a hybrid work pilot who will be able to work remotely for four weeks a year.

After the first US case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant was reported in California, the federal government was set to announce a bunch of measures to help counter the virus, including campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, additional testing requirements for travellers entering the country from abroad and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testing free for more people.

International travellers coming to the US will have to test within a day of departure, regardless of vaccination status, rather than the 72 hours currently required for vaccinated travellers, under new protocols early next week. The new testing rules will apply both to US citizens and foreign nationals entering the country. (IANS)

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