Google Advises Washington Staff to Work from Home on Coronavirus Fears

Google said it advised Seattle-area employees to work from home in response to the spreading coronavirus, joining many other tech giants in the area.
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Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Report Google said it advised Seattle-area employees to work from home, joining many other big name companies in the area who are responding to the spreading coronavirus.

Shares were down 5.3% to $1,308.46 on Thursday afternoon.

"We have recommended that our Washington offices work from home, if roles allow, to prioritize health and safety, and after consulting with public health officials," a Google spokesperson said in an email.

Eleven people in the U.S. have died from the disease, with 10 of them in Washington, which has 70 confirmed cases. Fifty-one of the cases are in King County, home to Seattle, where nine of the deaths have occurred, state health officials said.

Google also asked employees not to bring external visitors into the company’s offices in Washington. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has more than 4,500 employees in Seattle.

For its part, Seattle-based Amazon recommended employees in the area work from home through the end of the month, after an employee at its South Lake Union office complex in the city tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Facebook on Thursday said it would shut its Seattle office until March 9 after a contractor at the location was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

In addition, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report, which has nearly 54,000 employees in Washington State, recommended that employees in King County “who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25th.”

"Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite," Kurt DelBene, Microsoft's executive vice president of corporate strategy and operations, said in a blog post.

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