Microsoft to start bringing workers back to headquarters

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FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo is displayed outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft will begin bringing workers back to its suburban Seattle global headquarters on March 29, 2021, as the tech giant starts to reopen more facilities it largely shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft will begin bringing workers back to its suburban Seattle global headquarters on March 29 as the tech giant starts to reopen more facilities it largely shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a post Monday on the company’s corporate blog, Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said Microsoft has been monitoring local health data and decided it can bring more employees back to its Redmond, Washington, campus.

DelBene said workers will have the choice to return to headquarters, continue working remotely or do a combination of both.

More than 50,000 people work at the company’s headquarters campus in Redmond, 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Seattle.

On Monday, Washington state moved into Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan, meaning all of the state’s 39 counties will be allowed to relax coronavirus restrictions.

Under Phase 3, all indoor spaces — including indoor dining at restaurants, indoor fitness centers, and retail — can increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies will also be OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.