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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Still working from home this morning? You're not alone.

State of play: Sept. 7 was long targeted by companies as the day they would bring their workers back to the office.

  • At the time the date was set, the COVID caseload in Minnesota was low, hospitals had plenty of open beds and people were getting vaccinated in massive numbers.

Fast forward: The vaccination rate has slowed, the Delta variant has spread and hospitals are again nearing capacity. And big companies like Target, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank have pushed back their return-to-work plans.

Why it matters: Some percentage of workers are miserable at home and were looking forward to coming back.

  • Plus, restaurants and retailers that thrive off office workers are once again playing the waiting game as their debt to landlords piles up.

Yes, but: Some employers have already called workers back to the office. Others are still returning today.

  • Law firm Stinson is sticking to a September callback, with workers coming in two days a week. Taft Stettinius & Hollister brought back workers in August, per the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
  • "We think we're going to be living with COVID for a long time," David Crosby, Stinson's deputy managing partner, told the Biz Journal.

Between the lines: Many companies have been putting off long-term real estate decisions, including whether to shed office space, downsize or move. Delayed returns just pushed those decisions further back.

  • "It's really hard for an employer to determine what their future office needs are going to be when they're really not certain what's going to happen over the next 12 to 24 months," Mike Gelfman, a suburban office broker for Colliers International's Twin Cities office, told Nick.
  • "To go out and make a commitment with a 10-year lease is really difficult," he added.

What's ahead: Some companies are telling workers they're delaying their return indefinitely, while others are now targeting early January.

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Go deeper

Sep 16, 2021 - Health

France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay

A nurse tends to a patient at a hospital in France. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty images.

France has suspended about 3,000 health workers without pay for failing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The suspensions came after Wednesday's government-imposed deadline for the country's 2.7 million health workers to get at least one dose of the vaccine.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
38 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.