Dentsu has closed its Tokyo headquarters building after a worker there tested positive for the Coronavirus. The move comes as Tokyo has closed its schools for at least a month. The city is taking rigorous steps to contain the virus in advance of the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics.
At Dentsu four employees who worked closely with their infected colleague have been working remotely since Feb. 25 and are “prohibited from visiting business partners.”
In addition, the city’s public health center has identified four close contacts and will provide progress reports of its observation of their health until March 5.
The company said the work-at-home policy for headquarters-based employees took effect Feb. 26. “During this time, employees are required to report their health status to the labor management directors of each division,” the company said in a statement.
For now, the work-at-home policy applies only to the firm’s main Tokyo headquarters building but other Dentsu offices in the region are currently being evaluated.
A company statement added: “Employees who work in the Dentsu head office building will basically be working remotely from February 26. Nevertheless, if they need to work urgently with a business partner, they must be in good physical health and should comply with that company's rules regarding the new coronavirus issue. In accordance with these conditions, they will continue to hold meetings, production operations, presentations and so forth at the offices of its business partners, based on mutual agreement.”
Broader "action plans" are now being evaluated in coordination government policies, the firm said.
Meanwhile Omnicom has closed a third office—in Australia that houses OMD operations there—and issued travel restrictions to certain regions. The Australian office closing followed closings earlier in the week of OMD offices in London and Singapore. An employee who made a trip connecting to all three offices came down with flu-like symptoms and the closings are a precaution, a company rep confirmed. No company employees have tested positive for the virus so far.
Omnicom CEO John Wren issued a directive yesterday requesting that all travel to or from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Iran, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Northern Italy be postponed until further notice and that employees returning from those areas stay away from Omnicom offices for 14 days and work at home as a precaution.
“Omnicom and our agencies will continue to follow the advice of the appropriate national regulatory authorities, as well as the World Health Organization,” Wren stated.
Other holding companies have put into effect similar travel restrictions as well.
This story has been updated.