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Austin tech giant shutters until further notice due to coronavirus fears

Austin tech giant shutters until further notice due to coronavirus

women working in an office
One Austin technology company is closing its office until further notice.  Getty Images

One of Austin's largest technology employers is requiring all employees to work from home amid the global panic about coronavirus. Job listings website Indeed, which employs about 2,500 Austinites and nearly 9,000 worldwide, sent an email on Tuesday, March 3, telling its staff to work from home until further notice.

"As the COVID-19 coronavirus evolves into a global health concern, we have made the decision to ask all employees to work from home until further notice. Our goal is to minimize the risk to employees and help to lower the probability of the spread of the virus to you, your families and the communities where we operate," the email said. 

Along with the new work-from-home requirements, Indeed is canceling all special events and business-related travel — including, you guessed it, SXSW.

Though Indeed has not banned employees from the Austin festival, a representative did say the company is encouraging "employees not to attend or present at large-scale events, including SXSW." The rep also confirmed that Indeed CEO Chris Hyams, who was scheduled to do an interview with Acquired Podcast during SXSW, has canceled his appearance at the festival.

Despite the precautionary measures, the City of Austin and Travis County officials gave a press conference on March 4 about coronavirus (aka COVID-19), noting that the public's risk for contracting the disease is "low."

"While we do not have any confirmed cases of employees with the virus, we continue to act out of an abundance of caution," the Indeed email noted. "We are constantly evaluating this evolving situation and adjusting tactics based on new information to keep you safe."

Indeed was founded in Austin in 2004 and will eventually move into the eponymous Indeed Tower at 200 W. Sixth St. next year. In addition to the Capital City, the job site has offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Tokyo, Sydney, and Paris, among other cities.