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December 2, 2021

The Hartford delaying return to office for sr. leaders following omicron variant concerns

Photo | CoStar The Hartford's Asylum Hill headquarters in Hartford.

The recent emergence of the COVID-19 omicron variant is prompting a major Hartford employer to delay the return of senior leaders to its offices.

In a statement, Matthew Sturdevant, a spokesman for property and casualty insurer The Hartford, said plans to have the company’s senior leaders return in-person this coming Monday, ahead of most other employees, have been called off for the time being.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are delaying the return of senior leaders to the office as scientists and medical experts work to understand the new virus variant, omicron, and its implications for transmissibility and vaccine effectiveness,” Sturdevant said. “We had planned for senior leaders to return on Dec. 6 and will determine a new date in the weeks ahead.”

The company will, however, move forward with plans to bring many workers back to their offices by Jan. 18, a date first announced in October.

“As we have said all along, we will continue to make decisions and take action based on guidance from public health experts,” Sturdevant said.

The omicron strain was first reported by the government of South Africa to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24. Scientists suspect it is likely more contagious than prior COVID-19 strains, though the severity of the symptoms it causes is not yet clear.

The first confirmed omicron infection in the U.S. was identified Wednesday in California.

The Hartford, which employs more than 6,000 people in Connecticut, had previously planned to return workers to the office by Oct. 4, but postponed that indefinitely amid a spike in COVID-19 transmission stemming from the spread of the delta variant.

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