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Morgan Stanley to Require Vaccinations to Enter N.Y. Offices

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Morgan Stanley plans to bar employees who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19 from entering its offices in the New York area, as a growing number of major Wall Street firms delay the return of staff who aren’t protected against the deadly virus.

The policy, outlined in an internal memo, is one of the most restrictive issued by a major U.S. bank so far. The firm said the goal is to help create a normal office environment, without a need for face masks and physical distancing.

Just last week, Chief Executive Officer James Gorman fired off a warning shot to employees still uncertain about wanting to return to its buildings. “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office,” he said at a conference.

Gorman estimated that more than 90% of employees back in the offices were already vaccinated and said he expects that number to inch closer to 100%.

The bank hasn’t mandated a full return, as at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., but Gorman said if the offices weren’t filled up by Labor Day in September, “then we’ll have a different kind of conversation.”

Plans of Other Wall Street Firms

While most U.S. employers say they don’t plan to require their workforces to get vaccinated before returning, some big financial firms have drawn a harder line in recent days.

BlackRock Inc. told U.S. staff last week that it would allow only those who are fully vaccinated to come back starting next month.

Bank of America Corp. also plans to prioritize the return of vaccinated staff, summoning all of them back by early September. It said it will make arrangements for unvaccinated people later.

About 72% of employers responding to a May survey conducted by advisory and risk management company Willis Towers Watson said they don’t plan to require vaccinations to return to the workplace. Instead, most will require that unvaccinated staff wear masks indoors.

Morgan Stanley already has set timetables and protocols for working in certain vaccine-only spaces, according to its memo. The firm will expand that approach for all other divisions effective July 12.

The policy applies to workers, clients and visitors at buildings in New York City and Westchester. The Financial Times reported the memo earlier Tuesday.

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