Amtrak will require all employees and contractors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a company advisory issued by CEO Bill Flynn Wednesday.
Employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, meaning it has been at least two weeks since they received all required doses. New hires as of Oct. 4 must show proof they are fully vaccinated before their first day of work, according to the memo.
Employees who have not provided documentation of their full vaccination status will be required to submit negative COVID-19 test results weekly. They can request medical or religious exemptions.
“Many employees have shared reasons why they are apprehensive about getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Flynn said in the memo. “We understand those concerns, and encourage everyone to consult with a medical professional and seek out facts from reputable sources.”
Amtrak’s companywide vaccination rate is more than 50%, spokesman Marc Magliari said.
Amtrak has also restored pay protection for fully vaccinated employees who might need to quarantine after testing positive for a breakthrough case of the virus, according to the memo. Unvaccinated employees required to quarantine because they are close contacts with someone who has contracted the virus can receive excused absences, but their pay will not be protected.
Amtrak also pushed its return-to-worksite date from Sept. 13 to Nov. 1.
“This extension of the return date is prudent due to the rise in the delta variant across the country, and it will allow time for more employees to get vaccinated,” Flynn said in the memo.
Still, Amtrak encouraged employees to return sooner “if they are comfortable doing so because our presence makes a difference,” according to the memo.
Masks are required at all train facilities and offices, regardless of vaccination status.
“While we recognize this is a personal decision for each of us, we are confident it is in the long-term best interest for our colleagues, our customers and our company,” Flynn said in the memo.