Twitter is latest tech company to ban employee travel due to coronavirus

Twitter announced yesterday all nonessential employee travel is banned until further notice due to the coronavirus threat. This includes CEO Jack Dorsey's SXSW appearance. Twitter has also asked all employees to work from home.

Twitter Expected To Announce Strong Quarterly Earnings

Twitter has banned all non-essential employee travel.

Image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Twitter joins the ranks of Amazon and Google to halt nonessential employee travel due to the coronavirus threat. 

This means the company is also pulling out of SXSW, where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was scheduled to give a keynote address, according to CNET's Erin Carson. In past years, Twitter has hosted speakers and events at its "Twitter House" at SXSW in Austin, Texas, which takes place in mid-March.

The company announced the ban yesterday in a blog post and said, "We also have the responsibility of ensuring that the health and safety of our employees and partners is not compromised. We have continued to monitor the situation closely and are adjusting our internal policies to respond to this rapidly-evolving situation. On February 29, we informed our people and started notifying partners that we are suspending all non-critical business travel and events."

"This policy is effective immediately and will continue until the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control deem it appropriate to step back from pandemic precautionary measures or when a vaccine becomes available."

Later on Monday, Twitter also announced that all employees are being "strongly encouraged" to work from home to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. "We are operating out of an abundance of caution and the utmost dedication to keeping our Tweeps healthy," the company said in a statement.

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The travel ban is in place because, "Our goal is to reduce the risk that anyone at Twitter might contract or inadvertently spread the virus. It is important that we take these proactive steps to protect ourselves and others and minimize the spread of COVID-19."

This happened the day after CNET reported Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of the activist fund Elliott Management, is preparing a plan to try to replace Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter, according to Bloomberg.

Ernst & Young restricts employee travel

Another company, Ernst & Young has now restricted employee travel both domestically and internationally as well.

A spokesperson said, "The safety and wellbeing of all EY people, clients and communities remains our primary concern. Consistent with advice from local governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we have asked EY people to defer all travel to those countries at highest risk – currently China, HK, Macau, Japan, South Korea and the restricted areas of Northern Italy. EY people returning from those locations are required to abide by governmental recommendations for a 14-day self-quarantine period. We are also placing limitations on non-essential international and domestic travel and asking our people to utilize alternative ways of connecting. We are monitoring this situation closely and will be updating guidance as developments warrant."

Conference cancellations due to coronavirus

As a result of the coronavirus,  numerous conferences and events have been cancelled  as people fear being in contact with someone with COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus. 

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the latest to cancel, and Facebook cancelled F8 last week. Mobile World Congress was the first to bail, with its February 12 announcement that it was cancelling MWC in Barcelona. Others include F5 Agility 2020, Cisco Live Melbourne, Facebook's annual marketing conference, DEF CON China and the Tokyo Marathon.

SEE: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic (ZDNet special feature)

The CDC now has just over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US in 15 states and six deaths, with New Hampshire and Georgia the most recent states to join the battle against the virus. The novel coronavirus has resulted in more than 3,100 deaths worldwide. So far, there have been 90,000 global cases confirmed as coronavirus spreads around the world. 

This article was updated on March 3, 2020.

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