A growing list of companies around the Twin Cities are pushing back their dates to return to the office because of the surging number of COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday, Wells Fargo and the law firm Dorsey & Whitney, which both have large offices in downtown Minneapolis, as well as Travelers, the insurance company with a big presence in St. Paul, all announced delays.
Amazon, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant with a tech office in North Loop, also said that it will now wait until January.
On Wednesday, U.S. Bancorp became one of the first major employers in the Twin Cities to announce a delay in getting back to the office this fall. It told employees its return to the office slated for Sept. 7 will be pushed back to a "to-be-determined" date later in the fall.
In a memo sent to employees Thursday morning, Wells Fargo said it is now aiming for a phased return starting Oct. 4, a month later than its previous plan.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments if required to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and customers," Scott Powell, the company's chief operating officer, said in the note.
With about 7,000 corporate employees, Wells Fargo is the third-largest employer in downtown Minneapolis. The bank, which is based in San Francisco, also has other corporate offices around the Twin Cities and employs about 18,000 people in Minnesota.
The delay will not affect Wells Fargo employees who have already been working in person, such as those in branches. Most other corporate employees, who had planned to return to offices after Labor Day, are now being told they will return in waves in October and November.
Wells Fargo is not requiring that employees get vaccinated. But Powell encouraged employees to do so.
"Each of us has the opportunity to protect ourselves and the people around us by getting vaccinated," he wrote. "The delta variant does not change the basic facts: Vaccinated people are at lower risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, and [at] much lower risk of becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalization if they do become infected."
Travelers has postponed its mandatory return to the office by a month and now hopes to have its 2,100 employees in St. Paul back by mid-October. It is not setting a firm date given the uncertainty around the delta variant but expects to give ample notice to workers before they have to return, said Jim Scannell, a senior vice president.
Dorsey & Whitney also did not provide a new return date, but confirmed it is delaying its plans to return this September to its U.S. offices, including in Minneapolis where it has 490 employees.
"Every Dorsey U.S. office is now in an area of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission," the law firm said in a statement. "The health and safety of our employees, clients and guests is our highest priority, so we will maintain the status quo in our U.S. offices."
That means, the company said, that working in the office will continue to be mostly voluntary and that most people will continue to work remotely.