Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the company will not hold any “large physical events” for at least another year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Zuckerberg, in a post on his Facebook page, said Facebook would avoid hosting events with 50 or more people through June 2021. The decision is based on “health experts” recommending it “won’t be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while,” Zuckerberg said. It also follows Facebook’s decision in late February to cancel this year’s F8 developer conference, which was set for May 5-6 in San Jose, California. (Last year’s event had about 5,000 attendees.)
Thursday’s announcement also threatens to upend other Facebook events this year and in 2021, including its annual shareholder meeting, which is typically held in late May. “Some of these we will hold as virtual events instead and we’ll share more details on that soon,” Zuckerberg said.
As for Facebook’s employees, Zuckerberg said the “vast majority” will be working from home until at least the end of May. A “small percent” of “critical employees” who are unable to work remotely, like content reviewers handling counter-terrorism, may return sooner. Business travel is also canceled until June as well.
If employees don’t feel comfortable coming back to the office, even when the moratorium has been lifted, Zuckerberg said they can work from home through the end of summer.
“When society does eventually start re-opening, it will have to open slowly in staggered waves to make sure that the people who are returning to work can do so safely and that we minimize the possibility of future outbreaks,” he added.