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Humana delays employee return once again as COVID cases rise

Employees were supposed to return to the office building in downtown Louisville starting Jan. 17, but the rise in the omicron variant changed that.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Humana employees will continue working from home until further notice as the company postpones the facility's re-entry date once again.

According to a statement from Humana Corporate Associate Vice President Jim Turner, Humana employees who preferred to work in the office were supposed to return to the building in downtown Louisville starting Jan. 17. Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the company decided in December to push that date back.

"In addition to keeping all of our employees safe, this also helps us prioritize our supplies... to ensure those who are required to work outside of the home are protected," Turner said in an email to WHAS11.

A new return date has not been released.

The organization, which employs 13,000 people, pushed back the re-entry date for employees multiple times in 2021 as COVID case numbers rose in waves. In September, Humana's director of corporate and financial communications said the company was adjusting its facility reentry dates to sometime after Jan. 14, 2022. 

In August 2021, Humana announced it will require full vaccination for associates and select contractors who work outside of their home. Employees must be fully vaccinated or receive an approved exemption by Jan. 14, 2022.

Humana is one of Louisville's largest employers and the company's move to remote work earlier in the pandemic made a major impact on restaurants and other businesses in downtown Louisville.

The afternoon foot traffic helped many surrounding small businesses, but businesses WHAS 11 spoke to Wednesday said they've weathered this storm for two years now, and they can handle whatever comes next.

"We wish Humana well,” Wayne Sweeney, Director of Operations with Merle's Whiskey Kitchen, said. “We'll welcome them back as soon as they get back. We love Humana, but we're not going to hang our hat on one group."

That's the mentality Sweeney said small businesses like his need - adapt and survive.

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