Facebook tells Bay Area employees to stay home and cancel any trips amid coronavirus outbreak

Key Points
  • Facebook is telling its workers in the San Francisco Bay Area to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak, including at those based in its Menlo Park, California headquarters.
  • However, some of the platform security teams will ask to remain onsite. 
  • The company said it is scrapping all Bay Area events and telling workers to cancel all travel in and out of the region.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at an event at Facebook's Headquarters office in Menlo Park, California on January 15, 2012.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook is telling employees in the San Francisco Bay Area that they should stay home after the coronavirus outbreak touched down locally. That includes its Menlo Park, California headquarters.

The social media-giant said it is "strongly recommending" all its workers in the Bay Area to work from home Friday due to the new coronavirus, formally named COVID-19. The company has several offices and thousands of employees across the region.

However, some employees critical to the site's safety and security will still be asked to continue to work onsite. It is also scrapping all events in the Bay Area and recommending employees cancel all business travel in and out of the region.

"Based on guidance from Santa Clara County today, we are strongly recommending that all Bay area employees and contingent staff work from home starting tomorrow, Friday, March 6th," Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison Thursday evening said in a statement to CNBC. "This decision is based on our desire to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, The health and safety of our teams, their loved ones and our neighbors remain a top priority."

It's the first known tech giant to feel the effect of the outbreak in its Silicon Valley home.

The latest precautions come after San Francisco announced its first two cases Thursday. The company previously said it was closing its Seattle, Washington office until Monday after one its contractors was confirmed to be infected with the virus.

Microsoft also encouraged employees to work from home in the Puget Sound area in Washington that includes Microsoft's headquarters and California's Bay Area.

Facebook did not say how long it expected to enforce the recommendations. It is currently considering how it can give contractors options to support themselves with a cut work schedule. The company will perform deep cleaning in the offices.

Having fewer people in the offices means the company can reduce the risk of a potential spreading. It did not respond to whether any of its employees or contractors have any suspected or confirmed case locally.