Bloomsbury has said it will now require staff to be vaccinated before returning to its offices from July.
The publisher is asking employees to work two days a week in the office, and had planned a partial return on 21st June, followed by a full return slated for 7th September. However, the June date has been now been pushed back to 19th July following a government delay on the final easing of lockdown restrictions.
Employees were made aware of the policy, which has attracted some critcism online, after receiving an email ahead of the second May bank holiday weekend.
A spokesperson for the publisher told The Bookseller: "The wellbeing of our staff has been our overarching concern in all our decisions since the start of the pandemic, including this one about vaccinations. Bloomsbury took its own decision to close its offices before the government instruction to work from home last year. The failure of the government to lockdown earlier is now blamed for thousands of unnecessary deaths and we know we did the right thing.
"Similarly, we have made our own decision on requiring the vaccine for staff returning after our reopening date, which is now 19th July. We note that the national view on requiring vaccinations is itself evolving this week."
"In making our decision, we took both medical and scientific advice," the spokesperson said. "The simple fact is that this virus is still extremely dangerous."
The publisher cited a report by the BBC this week, which noted concern among scientists that the virus is growing and partly driven by young, unvaccinated people.
It said: "We recently reported the tragic deaths of two Bloomsbury staff from Covid. We will continue to make our own decisions, conscious of the serious consequences of making the wrong ones. Inevitably, not everyone will agree. We accept this and, as with so many decisions in the pandemic, we have to do what we believe is right for the wellbeing of all our staff."
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