Google, Other Companies Temporarily Close China Offices Due To Coronavirus

Google on Wednesday temporarily shut its offices in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The offices are currently closed for the extended Lunar New Year holiday, but Google now plans to keep the offices closed in accordance with government guidance.

Google also will place temporary business travel restrictions on flights to mainland China and Hong Kong.

The company advised employees in China, and employees who have immediate family members returning from the country, to return home as soon as possible and to work from home for at least 14 days from their departure date, a spokesperson told The Verge.

The move is part of a wave of U.S. companies closing office and retail stores or asking their employees to work from home in the affected areas.

Starbucks closed more than 2,000 stores in mainland China this week. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson pointed to two immediate priorities during an earnings call with analysts that “caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers in our stores [and] playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the coronavirus."



Apple also is limiting travel and has closed one retail store. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday the company began limiting employee travel to China and has closed one store in mainland China and reduced operating hours for other retail locations.

Facebook and Microsoft began restricting employee travel for only business-critical situations and asked employees in the areas to stay at home.

Companies said they would follow updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. State Department issued earlier this week.


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