JPMorgan Chase on Monday told its U.S. employees that the bank was rolling back several coronavirus precautions as cases continue to drop.
Wearing a mask at corporate buildings will be “completely voluntary” for workers starting today, regardless of their vaccination status, the bank said in the memo. Next month, the bank will stop mandatory testing for unvaccinated workers and will open up hiring to the unvaccinated, it added.
Two years after sending employees home en masse in the early days of the pandemic, corporations are preparing for the return to office life. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the U.S. have plummeted after reaching peaks during the winter, allowing governments to relax rules like requiring masks in public schools.
JPMorgan said New York City employees are still covered by the local vaccine mandate, and workers will need to continue logging responses into the bank’s vaccine program.
Here is the full memo:
Message from the Return to the Office Task Force
Across the U.S., as we continue to see cases decline, restrictions lifted and more flexibility with daily activities, we are learning to live with COVID as part of our new normal. The virus has shifted to cause less severe illness, there is now a high level of vaccine immunity and natural immunity from infection, and we are once again enjoying the benefits and energy that comes with being together in the office on a regular basis.
As we continue our journey to a sense of normalcy, we wanted to look ahead and let you know what to expect as it relates to our COVID health and safety guidelines.
Effective immediately, masking in our corporate office buildings will be completely voluntary for both vaccinated and unvaccinated colleagues. There will be employees who choose to wear masks — and that is completely fine. On April 4, we will discontinue other measures such as mandatory testing for the unvaccinated, as well as asking employees to report COVID-19 infection and the associated contact tracing and notifications. These steps are in line with CDC guidance. We will also discontinue hiring only vaccinated individuals as of April 4.
Maintaining a safe work environment and following local requirements will continue to be a priority. We will keep some of our practices and protocols in place along with our permanently improved air filtration and cleaning standards, namely:
Our New York City employees must continue to meet vaccination requirements unless the City lifts the order.We will continue to offer voluntary testing through complimentary home testing kits. We will continue to require responses be entered into the Vaccine Record Tool.Our current isolation / quarantine guidelines will remain in effect for now, in line with CDC guidance. Click here to see our guidelines.
This pandemic has reminded us of the impact infectious transmission can have on others. In the new normal, it is more important than ever that we each do our part to keep each other safe. So, if you are sick with COVID or have symptoms of any other illness that may be contagious, please do not come into the office. And if you do test positive for COVID, please exercise good judgement and common sense in deciding if colleagues with whom you’ve been in close contact would want to know.
As we have from the start, we will continue to monitor developments closely and will be prepared to reintroduce practices and protocols when and where needed. For instance — masking requirements may return if there is another spike in cases, or a variant begins to spread that causes severe illness in the general population. But this will only happen based on strict criteria or if mandated by state or local government authorities.
In March of 2020, no one could have predicted the toll the pandemic would take on our communities, families and economy. We have learned new ways to work and have seen firsthand how resilient we can be when we pull together as a team.
As we see our way out of the pandemic, thank you for being the team we could rely on no matter what.