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Google Tells Staff to Work From Home In North America and Europe

Gerrit De Vynck and Nate Lanxon

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google told its staff in North America, the U.K. and Europe to work at home unless they must go into the office, becoming one of the latest companies seeking to protect workers from the spreading coronavirus.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is “recommending” workers stay out of their offices until at least April 10, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. The company had already sent home its Seattle-area workers, where the virus has had the highest number of cases in the U.S.

Google’s expanded work-at-home policy came as the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, have reached almost 120,000 worldwide with more than 4,300 deaths.

Google told staff Wednesday in the U.K. and Europe they should work from home, according to a person familiar with the plans who didn’t want to be identified.

“The goal of businesses moving to work-from-home arrangements is to significantly reduce the density of people and lower health risk in offices,” the memo said.

The note also recommended contract workers, who make up as much as half of the company’s overall workforce, work from home if they were able. Google also said last week it would keep paying the thousands of hourly workers who do jobs such as serving food, cleaning offices and providing security, through the crisis.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.net;Nate Lanxon in London at nlanxon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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