Banco Santander has got its staff back to offices in Brazil where the Covid-19 cases have affected one million people in the past month, Bloomberg reported.

Santander has asked 60% of its administrative staff back to return to the office, including a few investment bankers and asset management staff.

The report did not specify the number of employees Santander has brought back to the office. The lender had 46,348 employees in Brazil as of June 2020.

During an earnings call, Santander CEO Sergio Rial told reporters that the bank has taken all safety measures, including social distancing while sending staff back to the office.

Rial added that high-risk employee groups have not been asked to come back to the office.

He also added that work from home will not become the new normal after the pandemic ends.

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During the call, he said: “I don’t see it as a big revolution. It’s no panacea or as transforming as thought.”

Workers’ union opposes the move

Union head Ivone Silva said: “Santander has taken a totally different approach from the rest of the banking sector, which hasn’t been asking employees to come back.”

Silva said she visited Santander’s headquarters in Sao Paulo last month, which houses 6,500 employees.

The lobbies were crowded as the floors were marked with red dots for social distancing and elevators could carry only five people at a time.

Employees had to wait half an hour to onboard the elevators, Silva said.

The bank told the Union that it has shortened employees’ working hours, to address this problem.

Few employees have also filed complaints stating that workers are conversing in the hallways without wearing a mask.

Brazil has recorded 3.36 million total Covid-19 cases and 110,000 deaths so far, according to Bloomberg reports.