Wall Street employees begin to mask up again as Citigroup tells workers of new mandate

Traders wearing masks work in posts on the first day of personal trading since it closed during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, the United States, Feb.26 .2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

For a wonderful couple of weeks, Wall Street employees vaccinated against Covid-19 were able to take off their masks in the office.

This appears to be coming to an end after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this week that even fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in areas with significant indoor transmission rates.

Citigroup told employees in a memo late Wednesday that, according to a person aware of the situation, they are now required to wear masks in U.S. corporate offices. Other Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley, are watching the situation closely, said another knowledgeable person.

The rise in the more contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink their plans to return employees to physical offices. Some, including Facebook, Alphabet, and the Washington Post, require employees to be vaccinated. Others like Lyft have postponed the date the employees are expected, saying they will return now in February.

Citi, the third largest U.S. bank by assets, follows CDC guidelines, according to the person who refused to be identified, which spoke to the company’s plans.

Back in May, the CDC said fully vaccinated adults are not required to wear masks or social distancing indoors, and Citibank has followed that protocol for corporate offices, although masks are required at branches, the person said.

Employees who sit at their desks or eat in a canteen don’t have to wear masks, according to Bloomberg.

Citigroup declined to comment on the data set about its employee policy.

Financial firms have generally been more aggressive than other industries in advocating a return to office life, based on concerns that the Wall Street banking collaborative culture deteriorated during the remote working era.

JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets, had no changes to its latest guidelines as of Thursday, which would allow vaccinated people to forego masks and daily health certificates as of this month, according to a person familiar with her planning.

Bank of America is sticking to its policy that employees should use masks in areas where social distancing is not possible, such as elevators, said a person with knowledge of the bank. The company is still planning to bring most of its employees back after Labor Day, the person said.

This story evolves. Please check again for updates.

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