Google blocks visitors to Silicon Valley and New York offices, asks more staff to work from home

Key Points
  • Google is restricting external visitors in some offices including the the San Francisco Bay Area and New York, both of which have also told employees they can work from home.
  • It has recommended Japan and South Korea employees to work from home. 
  • It is also cancelling all in-person interviews for the foreseeable future.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during signing ceremony committing Google to help expand information technology education at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, October 3, 2019.
Brandon Wade | Reuters

Google is restricting all visitors from its headquarters in Mountain View and other offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday.

The company is also taking other steps, including recommending that employees in Japan and South Korea work from home, permitting employees in other locations to work remotely, and canceling all in-person job interviews for the "foreseeable future" to "protect our candidates' and interviewers' health and well-being."

The spokesperson added that as the COVID-19 situation changes, its "rule of thumb" for individual offices comes from regional health guidance from the CDC and WHO.

The latest measures come amid Alphabet's attempts to mobilize its workforce of more than 300,000 workers to deal with the crisis. Alphabet's top executives including CEO Sundar Pichai and CFO Ruth Porat urged employees to stay motivated to run Google's global infrastructure amid sweeping changes and fears around the virus spread, CNBC reported last week.

In it, Pichai said the company's security and "resilience" teams are running a 24-hour command center to help executives monitor updates in real-time and coordinate across the company. "We know this is a very unsettling time for everyone," Pichai wrote in a memo to employees.

San Francisco city officials confirmed five new cases of coronavirus in the city Monday, bringing the total amount to 13. There are at least 113,575 confirmed cases globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been at least 3,995 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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