Google this week issued a recommendation for all Washington State employees to work remotely, citing growing fears around the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson confirmed the recommendation in an email with TechCrunch. The move comes after a consultation with local health officials.
The software giant has not closed the offices outright, nor is it planning to make an official statement regarding the recommendation, but the news certainly points to broader trend of serious precautions around the novel coronavirus outbreak. The move follows a similar decision by Lyft, which sent home employees in its San Francisco office.
Google maintains a number of different offices throughout the state. Washington has become a major concentration for the spread of the virus in the U.S. Seventy cases have been reported, resulting in 10 deaths. The majority have been in King County, which includes both Seattle and Kirkland — both homes to Google offices.
The decision seems likely to be the first of many, as COVID-19 continues to spread to other major cities that serve as technology hubs. Earlier this week, the company announced that it was closing down the in-person element of its developer conference, I/O, over similar concerns. I/O is only one of several tech conferences that have been sidetracked by the disease, beginning with Mobile World Congress last month.