McDonald’s delays return to work for office workers, need vaccination

People are wearing protective masks outside of McDonald’s in Union Square as the city continues Phase 4 reopening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 30, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

McDonald’s said Wednesday to its corporate workforce that it will be reopening its offices for more than a month and requiring staff to be fully vaccinated.

The fast-food giant joins a number of other employers, including Coca-Cola and Amazon, in delaying their return to office or demanding that their workers be completely vaccinated, as concerns about the highly contagious delta variant grow. . Earlier Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange announced that it will require traders to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 13 to access the trading plan. While it is possible for inoculated people to obtain Covid-19, cases of reversal are extremely rare, and the primary risk is with unvaccinated populations.

McDonald’s is postponing its reopening date from Sept. 7 to Oct. 11 to allow its U.S. corporate workforce to vaccinate and build its immunity. Those workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 27. They may request exemption for medical or religious reasons.

“Since City Hall, we’ve heard from many of you that you would feel more comfortable returning to the office if you were more certain that your colleagues had been vaccinated,” said Heidi Capozzi, McDonald’s global CEO in a note obtained by CNBC. “We are also urging state and local governments to require vaccinations for corporate employees because having a vaccination of more of the population reduces our own chances of being infected and contributes to the protection of the community.”

However, like Walmart, the vaccination mandate applies only to McDonald’s office employees, not to restaurant-level workers who are managed by the company or franchisees. Restaurants and retailers have struggled to find enough workers willing to take their places, and employers fear vaccination warrants could drive away potential candidates or cause some existing workers to resign.

Masks are required at McDonald’s offices now, regardless of vaccine status.

“Finally, by requiring vaccinations for U.S.-based personnel, we hope to be able to do optional masks in the future,” Capozzi said.

The company recently modified its guidance to American restaurants to require all customers and restaurant workers in countries with high transmission rates to wear masks.

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