NEW YORK (Reuters) -Bank of America Corp told New York-based employees on Monday that they may work from home during the holidays, becoming the latest financial company to adjust plans as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads.
The bank also said it is providing free COVID-19 test kits and will offer booster shots at onsite clinics in the new year, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The steps by Bank of America, which were reported earlier by Bloomberg News, came as financial firms try to adjust for the recent rise in coronavirus infections, as they want to push for more client meetings and in-office work and collaboration. A slew of other financial firms have adjusted plans as the virus spreads, such as Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Carlyle Group Inc, Blackstone and MetLife.
In addition, JPMorgan Chase & Co on Friday sent a memo to employees encouraging work teams to assess “on a more regular basis” who needs to come into the office and “who should revert to working from home.”
JPMorgan also suggested that teams postpone work events centered around eating and drinking because of the difficulty of wearing masks.
The Omicron variant of the virus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
New York City has seen a surge. New COVID-19 cases rose 60% in the week to Sunday.
The virus has also affected events. The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday postponed its annual meeting in Davos due to the spread of the Omicron variant, putting off the event scheduled for January until mid-2022.
(Reporting by David Henry in New York; editing by Megan Davies and Jonathan Oatis)