Publisher Reopenings Slow

The spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 has slowed the momentum among publishers to return to working in the office. Hachette Book Group has postponed its plans to reopen in September, with CEO Michael Pietsch explaining, “We have not set a new reopening schedule at this time. When we decide it is safe to proceed with reopening, we will provide a minimum of four weeks’ notice before we proceed.” Their offices “remain open for people who want or need to use them, within our current capacity limits,” but employees were required to show proof of vaccinations starting August 9, 2021, and masks are mandatory.

ViacomCBS, parent company of Simon & Schuster, has announced that employees will not return to the office until October 18, 2021, and that’s “at the very earliest.” Employees who return before that have to be fully vaccinated, with exceptions for “certain union, production and essential on-site personnel.” Masks will be required for those who come back in October, and the company is considering making vaccines mandatory as well.

HarperCollins plans to bring employees back to the office in New York and Pennsylvania two or three days a week beginning on October 4, 2021, with individual schedules depending on position and office location. Boston and San Francisco offices are not yet scheduled to reopen. This is a hybrid work pilot program expected to run for four months while the company studies ‘‘what works and what doesn’t.’’ Afterward, they plan to ‘‘transition into a more formal, required work model which will incorporate what we’ve learned.’’

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