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The social distancing network? Facebook cancels events ’til July 2021

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to believe society will be in no position to lift distancing measures for at least the next 15 months.

The social networking godfather has announced he is cancelling all of Facebook’s large in-person events, of 50 people or more, until July 2021. That’s not a typo. July twenty twenty-one.

It’s a sobering through for anyone anticipating a quick post-peak return to “normal” in the tech world or anywhere else.

What it means is this year’s and next year’s Facebook f8 developers conference won’t take place (the social network had already cancelled the event this coming May), as well as the Oculus Connect conference, which tends to happen in September.

Related: How to delete a Facebook account

It also means Facebook employees, most of whom are working from home, won’t be attending any events that do require gatherings of 50 or more people.

“When society does eventually start re-opening,” the founder wrote on his personal Facebook page, “it will have to open slowly in staggered waves to make sure that the people who are returning to work can do so safely and that we minimize the possibility of future outbreaks.”

As a result, Zuckerberg said the company is “canceling any large physical events we had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021. Some of these we will hold as virtual events instead.”

Zuckerberg is also extending the policy of no business travel until at least the end of June, while stating that the vast majority of Facebook employees will continue to work from home through the end of May, so the firm can get its offices prepared for gradual return of workers.

He added: “Most Facebook employees are fortunate to be able to work productively from home, so we feel a responsibility to allow people who don’t have this flexibility to access shared public resources first. I hope this helps contain the spread of Covid-19 so we can keep our communities safe and get back up and running again soon.”

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