WEST LOOP — McDonald’s corporate headquarters is mandating office workers get the COVID-19 vaccine, delaying a return to the office amid the surge of the ongoing pandemic.
The fast-food giant is pushing back its reopening of the West Loop headquarters, 110 N. Carpenter St., from Sept. 7 to Oct. 11, according to an internal memo obtained by Block Club.
The delay is meant to give office workers a chance to get their shots before returning to work in-person. Workers are expected to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 27, according to the memo.
McDonald’s said it would grant exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
“Since the Town Hall, we’ve heard from many of you that you would feel more comfortable returning to the office if you had more certainty your colleagues were vaccinated,” Heidi Capozzi, Global Chief People Officer, wrote in the memo. “We are also being asked by state and local governments to require vaccinations for corporate employees because getting more of the population vaccinated reduces our own chances of being infected and contributes to community protection.”
Chicago has seen a rise in new infections in recent weeks.
More than 98 percent of recent cases in Chicago, in Illinois, and across the United States are thought to stem from the Delta variant, according to health officials. Vaccines are proven to be effective in stopping serious outcomes — like hospitalization and death — among those infected with the variant, according to the CDC.
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Capozzi said the decision was made in “close consultation with our partners at the Mayo Clinic and with guidance from public health officials.”
Fully vaccinated employees can return to the office Sept 7.
Even with the vaccine, workers will be required to wear masks inside the building, except while eating, drinking, or working alone in an enclosed room.
The mandate does not yet apply to restaurants operated by the company or franchisees.
In January, the fast-food chain paid up to four hours for managers and crew at corporate-owned U.S. restaurants and U.S. corporate employees to get vaccinated.
Earlier this year, they hosted a vaccine clinic at the West Loop headquarters for local crew, franchisees, corporate employees and contractors
“While we are eager to safely welcome teams back to our offices, we are committed to putting people first, providing a safe work environment and always finding ways to get better together,” Capozzi said.
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