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Riot Games reportedly drops masking and vaccination requirements ahead of return-to-office order

Employees are concerned the reduced requirements will make returning to the office unsafe

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Another major California-based video game developer is initiating a return-to-office order. According to a report from Vice, League of Legends developer Riot Games announced it will be requiring employees to return to its Los Angeles headquarters while also eliminating vaccine and masking requirements. Riot is also no longer requiring regular COVID-19 testing for employees who have not shown proof of vaccination.

The Vice report spoke to several current and former Riot employees who expressed anger that the new policy would danger employees’ health. “It’s a foolish and pointless policy being done at a poor time and being handled without real guarantee of our safety,” one anonymous employee said to Vice.

However, despite these concerns, Riot is acting in accordance with state and federal COVID-19 guidelines. California recently dropped its indoor masking mandate (requiring proof of vaccination or a negative covid test), and other states are following suit.

Last week, Activision Blizzard came under fire after a leaked email to employees from chief operating officer Brian Bulatao revealed that it, too, would be returning to the office without vaccination requirements. After a storm of backlash on social media, including a virtual walkout, Activision Blizzard amended its decision, allowing individual studios to make their own vaccination and masking determinations.