Capital One will require all office-based employees to be vaccinated before returning to in-person work, the bank’s CEO, Richard Fairbank, told employees in a memo on Wednesday. The McLean, Virginia-based bank is also delaying its office return date by two months from Sept. 7 to Nov. 2, joining many other corporations shifting their return dates amid the spread of the delta variant.
The company will also require all contractors, vendors and visitors who enter Capital One offices to be fully vaccinated. Fairbank said the choice to come into the office during the initial reopening period is strongly encouraged for vaccinated associates but is not mandatory.
- Capital One’s announcement comes a day after Citigroup said it would also mandate vaccinations for all employees returning to in-person work at its offices in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
The spread of the highly transmittable delta variant continues to put a dent in banks’ return-to-office plans.
Capital One is allowing employees who are unvaccinated to work remotely throughout its reopening period, which it said will extend through at least the first quarter of 2022, Fairbank said.
"Because the future course of the pandemic is still uncertain, we have not yet decided on the exact duration of the initial reopening period or our long-term vaccination policy," he said. "It is possible we will require vaccinations for all office-based associates after the conclusion of our initial reopening period, subject of course to appropriate medical and religious accommodations."
As of late July, about 86% of the bank’s employees who responded to an internal survey said they had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The bank’s new return-to-office timeline is a shift from what it announced back in June, when Fairbank said he expected to welcome back as many Capital One associates as possible by September.
"All of us have missed our friends and colleagues, and my hope was that all of us could experience a fall reopening together," he said. "I had been encouraged by high vaccination rates among our associates and hoped that, combined with on-site protocols, we could ensure a safe September reopening without a vaccine requirement. However, the highly-contagious Delta variant has put a damper on our aspirations."
The financial institution will continue to operate under a hybrid schedule with Mondays and Fridays enterprise-wide virtual work days, Fairbank said, while offices will be fully open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.