A 3D printed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is placed on laptop keyboard in this illustration

Meta delays office reopening, mandates booster shots for returning workers

(This January 10 story refiles to add that Citigroup may grant exemptions to its vaccination rule.)

(Reuters) – Facebook parent Meta Platforms has delayed its U.S. office reopening date and mandated COVID-19 booster shots for employees returning to office, joining the growing list of companies revamping reopening plans as Omicron surges.

For employees who opt to work from office, the reopening date has been delayed to March 28 from the earlier plan of Jan. 31, the tech giant said on Monday.

All workers returning to office will have to present proof of their booster jabs, while the company closely monitors the Omicron variant situation, it said. Meta currently requires all its U.S. employees coming to office to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Employees have until March 14 to decide whether to return to the office, request to work remotely full time or request to work from home temporarily.

Employees who are not vaccinated for medical or religious reasons can request such remote work, a spokesperson said. “Employees who take no action can face disciplinary measures, including termination. Obviously, this would be a last resort,” the spokesperson said by email.

Corporate America has doubled down on vaccination mandates and delayed back-to-office plans as the Omicron variant drives up infections to record levels across the country.

Last week, Citigroup said its U.S. staff who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless granted an exemption.

In December, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp had offered an option to defer returning to office.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Elizabeth Culliford in New York in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Aurora Ellis)