Delays, More Masks and Mandatory Shots: Virus Surge Disrupts Office-Return Plans


The New York Times 23 July, 2021 - 02:47pm 63 views

When is Eevee Community Day 2021?

We're excited to announce that Eevee, the Evolution Pokémon, will be featured during August's Community Day event—which will span two days instead of just one! And that's not all: when you evolve Eevee into any of its Evolutions from Friday, August 13, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. to Monday, August 16, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. pokemongolive.comEevee Community Day is back—with special attacks for each of Eevee's Evolutions!

A wave of the contagious Delta variant is causing companies to reconsider when they will require employees to return, and what health requirements should be in place when they do.

Several hospital systems that previously held off making vaccines mandatory for health care workers are now willing to do so. Google employees in California who have voluntarily returned to the office are again wearing masks indoors. Goldman Sachs is considering whether to reinstitute testing for fully vaccinated employees in the company’s New York City offices, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because nothing had been decided. And on Monday, Apple told its work force that it would push back its return-to-office date from September to October.

When companies began announcing tentative return-to-office plans this spring, there was a sense of optimism behind the messages. Covid cases were dwindling in the United States as the vaccine rollout picked up pace. Employers largely hoped their workers would get shots on their own, motivated by raffle tickets, paid time off and other perks, if not by the consensus of the medical community.

In recent days, that tone has suddenly shifted. The Delta variant, a more contagious version of the coronavirus, is sweeping through the country. Fewer than half of Americans are fully vaccinated, exacerbating the situation.

Nationally, the daily average of new coronavirus infections surged 180 percent in 14 days to 45,343 by Thursday, and deaths — a lagging number — are up 30 percent from two weeks ago, to nearly 252, according to New York Times case counts. Vaccines are still unavailable for children under 12, many of whom are preparing for an in-person return to school this fall.

It all adds up to a difficult calculation for America’s business leaders, who hoped the country would already be fully on a path to normalcy, with employees getting back to offices. Instead, individual companies are now being forced to make tough decisions that they had hoped could be avoided, such as whether to reverse reopening plans or institute vaccine mandates for employees. All the while, they continue to grapple with the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

“It’s emotionally draining on all of us, and it drives the top management teams crazy,” said Bob Sutton, a psychology professor at Stanford University who studies leadership and organizations. He said some executives he had advised were “pulling their hair out” over what to do.

For employers wary of the legal ramifications and political backlash of mandating a vaccine, the tide has begun to turn, if ever so slightly.

“At the beginning, there were a lot of employers that were concerned about jumping in too soon and being the one out front — it is a divisive issue,” said David Barron, a labor and employment lawyer at the law firm Cozen O’Connor. “The calculus starts to shift a little bit when you see another spike.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York on Friday encouraged private employers to require workers to get vaccinated. He also said the city might broaden the number of city workers required to get vaccinated or to be tested weekly.

Recent court decisions have upheld employers’ rights to require vaccinations, including a ruling that said Houston Methodist Hospital could require health care workers to get shots. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Indiana University could require students to be vaccinated as well.

“The legal authority continues to line up on the side of employers being allowed to mandate vaccines if they choose to,” said Douglas Brayley, an employment lawyer at the global law firm Ropes & Gray.

When Twitter reopened its San Francisco office this month at 50 percent capacity for those who wanted to go back, only vaccinated workers were allowed inside. In June, a civilian group that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department was examining the possibility of requiring police officers to get shots. And numerous colleges have required students and staff to be fully inoculated before they step foot on campus in the fall.

“The recent news of Delta surging in some places is just adding to that determination to be as safe as we possibly can,” said Tim Killeen, the president of the University of Illinois System, which instituted a vaccine requirement Wednesday.

Novant Health, a North Carolina-based health care company with more than 35,000 employees, said Thursday that it would make vaccinations mandatory for its workers by Sept. 15. Its efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy through education and making shots easily accessible had stagnated.

“Now that almost four billion doses of vaccine have been given around the world, and we see that it’s safe and effective, we see that the Delta variant is obviously here, and we have it in our communities, and that almost all the patients being added to our hospitals are unvaccinated, the time was right to say, ‘We’ve got to move forward with requiring vaccines of our team members,’” Dr. David Priest, the company’s chief safety officer, said.

For others, high voluntary vaccination rates among employees have made requiring the shot simpler. Morgan Stanley, the investment banking firm, is requiring employees and guests at its New York offices to be fully vaccinated, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss company protocols. By the time it imposed the mandate in June, 90 percent of its employees were vaccinated.

Vaccine mandates are still not the approach that most companies are taking. And the risk that the coronavirus poses to much of the population is far from what it was at the worst of the pandemic. New cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a small fraction of their previous peaks, largely localized to areas with low vaccination rates. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant.

“The big question is not so much ‘Can we keep workers safe in our buildings?’ but ‘Will workers feel comfortable enough coming back, even if good controls are in place?’” said Joseph Allen, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who advises companies on Covid-19 strategies. “There’s a renewed anxiety that maybe started to dissipate in the spring — but it’s back.”

That tension may make it more difficult to persuade workers to return to the office. In California’s Silicon Valley, tech companies largely embraced the new era of remote work during the pandemic. But not all have been eager to let their employees stay home for good.

In June, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, told employees that they would be required to return to the office at least three days a week, starting in September. About 1,800 employees sent Mr. Cook a letter calling for a more flexible approach.

He did not respond, but days later Apple posted an internal video in which company executives doubled down on bringing workers back to the office. In the video, Dr. Sumbul Desai, who helps run Apple’s digital health division, encouraged workers to get vaccinated but stopped short of saying they would be required to, according to a transcript viewed by The Times.

The video didn’t sit well with some employees.

“OK, you want me to put my life on the line to come back to the office, which will also decrease my productivity, and you’re not giving me any logic on why I actually need to do that?” said Ashley Gjovik, a senior engineering program manager.

When the company delayed its return-to-office date on Monday, a group of employees drafted a new letter, proposing a one-year pilot program in which people could work from home full time if they chose to. The letter said an informal survey of more than 1,000 Apple employees found that roughly two-thirds would question their future at the company if they were required to return to the office.

In Los Angeles, Endeavor, the parent company of the William Morris Endeavor talent agency, reopened its Beverly Hills headquarters this month. But it decided to shut down again last week when the county reimposed its indoor mask mandate in the face of surging case counts. An Endeavor spokesman said the company had decided that enforcement would be too difficult and would hinder group meetings.

The employment website Indeed had been targeting Sept. 7 as the date when it would start bringing workers back on a hybrid basis. Now it has begun to reconsider those plans, the company’s senior vice president of human resources, Paul Wolfe, said, “because of the Delta variant.”

Some companies said the recent spike in cases had not yet affected their return-to-office planning. Facebook still intends to reopen at 50 percent capacity by early September. IBM plans to open its U.S. offices in early September, with fully vaccinated employees free to go without a mask, and Royal Dutch Shell, the gas company, has been gradually lifting restrictions in its Houston offices, prompting more of its workers to return.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise began allowing employees to return to its offices Monday, bolstered by a survey of its California employees that found 94 percent were fully vaccinated.

“That gives us an added layer of comfort,” a company spokesman, Adam Bauer, said.

Wells Fargo told its employees on July 16 that it would begin to bring employees currently working remotely back to the office on Sept. 7. But unlike banks that earlier called workers back with declarative language ringing in a new stage of the pandemic, the memo, sent by the bank’s chief operating officer, Scott Powell, had a notable degree of caution.

“The timing communicated in this message is dependent on our assumption that the pandemic continues to remain stable or further improves,” Mr. Powell wrote. “We continue to actively monitor the situation and any developments, including new variants.”

Read full article at The New York Times

Pokemon Go August Community Day Makes It Much Easier To Get Sylveon

GameSpot 23 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

August's First PS Plus Game Confirmed As Hunter's Arena: Legends

Baldur's Gate 3 Patch 5 Coming July 13, And Here's What It Does

As the featured Pokemon, Eevee will be appearing more frequently in the wild than usual throughout the entire weekend, meaning you'll also have an increased chance of finding a Shiny. Any Shiny Eevee that you evolve will retain its Shiny coloration, making this a good opportunity to add some Shiny Eevee evolutions to your collection.

Sign up or Sign in now!

Now Playing: Pokemon Go 5 Year Anniversary Trailer

Additionally, Niantic is making it easier to get Sylveon. Typically, you need to earn 70 hearts when Eevee is set as your buddy in order to evolve it into Sylveon. For August's Community Day, however, Niantic is reducing the number of buddy hearts you need to earn to only seven.

Eevee will also learn a different Community Day-exclusive move depending on which form you evolve it into. Any Eevee that you evolve between August 13-16 will automatically know the following attacks:

As usual, a few bonuses will be live during August's Community Day as well. First, any Lure Modules and Incense that you use during the event hours will remain active for three hours. On top of that, eggs that are placed into incubators will hatch at a quarter of their usual distance. Finally, Niantic will sell a special Community Day bundle in Pokemon Go's in-game shop. The bundle costs 1,280 PokeCoins and includes the following:

Each day of August's Community Day weekend will run from 11 AM to 5 PM local time. You can read more details about the event on the official Pokemon Go blog.

In the meantime, Niantic has three Ultra Unlock events lined up for Pokemon Go. Ultra Unlock Part 1: Time kicks off July 23 and features Pokemon from across different eras, including Shiny Dialga. Ultra Unlock Part 2: Space follows starting August 6 and features Pokemon from different regions, as well as Shiny Palkia. The third and final Ultra Unlock event will begin on August 20, but Niantic is keeping details on that under wraps for now.

Pokémon GO - Ultra Unlock 2021: Time Research Rewards (Today Menu Timed Research) | Attack of the Fanboy

Attack of the Fanboy 22 July, 2021 - 04:53pm

Players accomplished all three goals during Pokémon GO Fest 2021 and now it’s time to start receiving the rewards thanks to the Ultra Unlock 2021: Time event. This is the first of three planned unlocked celebrations which give players a lot of stuff to enjoy. One of the biggest aspects is the new Timed Research, which offers a decent challenge but some pretty solid rewards. The tasks will be difficult though, and you only have just over a week to complete it. To help here are the Ultra Unlock 2021: Time Research rewards and tasks from the Today Menu in Pokémon GO.

Below are all of the tasks and rewards players can receive through the Ultra Unlock 2021: Time Timed Research story. This begins on Friday, July 23rd at 10am and ends at 8pm on Tuesday, August 3rd. The times are local, so if it hasn’t shown up in your Today Menu just yet it’s probably because you’re early. And be sure to watch that clock to make sure you finish it before the timer runs out or you’ll miss some of the biggest and best rewards.

Note: All encounters can be shiny

Rewards: 10 Poké Balls, 483 XP, and 3 Ultra Balls

Rewards: 5 Great Balls, 483 XP, and 3 Ultra Balls

Rewards: 15 Poké Balls, 483 XP, and 3 Ultra Balls

Rewards: 10 Greant Balls, 483 XP, and 3 Ultra Balls

Rewards: 30 Poké Balls, 3 Ultra Balls, and 2,000 Stardust

So that’s all of the tasks and their corresponding rewards, but what are the full Ultra Unlock 2021: Time Research rewards? For completing this Timed Research you will get the following rewards: 55 Poké Balls, 15 Great Balls, 30 Ultra Balls, 5 Nanab Berries, 8 Pinap Berries, 7 Razz Berries, 3 Max Revives, 1,932XP, 2,000 Stardust, an Upgrade, and encounters with Diglett, Drilbur, Magnemite, Aerodactyl, Onix, Shieldon, and Cranidos.

So that’s all of the Ultra Unlock 2021: Time Research rewards and tasks from the Today Menu in Pokémon GO.

Eevee returns for Pokémon Go's August Community Day, offering event-exclusive moves for each evolution | Dot Esports

Dot Esports 22 July, 2021 - 12:55pm

Niantic is bringing out the big guns next month. Eevee is coming back as the featured Pokémon in August’s Pokémon Go Community Day event. But on top of Eevee being the featured Pokémon, all of its evolutions will be able to learn event-exclusive attacks. 

Since Eevee is such a popular Pokémon and the scale of the rewards has changed, August’s Community Day will run for two days, Aug. 14 and 15, instead of one, with all of the bonuses running throughout the entire weekend. 

When you evolve Eevee between Aug. 13 and Aug. 16 at 10am local time, each of its evolutions will learn a new move. These will all be event-exclusive attacks for the Eeveelutions and Eevees caught or hatched during this period will also know Last Resort. 

For Sylveon, players will only need seven hearts to evolve their Eevee into the Fairy-type, down from the usual 70. Special Timed Research will also be available that rewards players with a Mossy Lure Module and a Glacial Lure Module.

Since it’s a Community Day, Eevee will obviously be spawning more frequently. But special stickers inspired by Eevee and its evolutions will be available throughout all of August. There will be a new $1 ticketed Eevee Community Day-exclusive Special Research story, “What You Choose to Be,” too. 

Finally, all eggs will require one-quarter of their usual Hatch Distance and any Incense or Lure Module used during the weekend will last for three hours.

Business Stories