Washington Post Will Require Staff to Provide Proof of Vaccination

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The Washington Post might have the strictest vaccination requirements of any private company yet.

The paper’s publisher, Fred Ryan, announced Tuesday that all Washington Post employees would be required to provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus as a condition of their employment at the nationally distributed paper, according to a copy of the memo obtained by Commercial Observer.

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“To help safeguard the health and safety of Post employees, we recently adopted a position of requiring all new employees to provide proof of vaccination,” wrote Ryan. “In the many conversations I have had with Post employees across all departments, I have heard the genuine concerns they have for themselves and their families with new COVID variants emerging.”

All Post employees will be required to demonstrate proof of full vaccination beginning on Sept. 13, when employees are expected back into the office for three days per week. 

The requirement will also apply to contractors and guests who wish to enter the D.C.-based paper’s offices, according to the memo. The Post will make exceptions for those with documented medical conditions and religious concerns, the memo said.

“Those with genuine medical and religious concerns will need to document them with our HR team as we have done over the years,” said the memo. “Since our upcoming phase of return to the office for all employees at three days per week will be on September 13, I urge you to move quickly to arrange for vaccination or, if you cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, please reach out to our HR team.”

In Washington, D.C., about 54 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to government data. The Post’s decision came just hours before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people vaccinated against the coronavirus should resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces where the virus is surging, after growing reports of infections of the more contagious Delta variant among people who are fully vaccinated, The New York Times reported.

The decision comes after a flurry of vaccination requirements for public-sector employees. New York City will require all municipal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by mid-September or undergo weekly testing, CO reported. California is requiring vaccinations or testing for its state workers, the Associated Press reported. But the private sector has been slower to adopt strict vaccination requirements. 

Companies like Morgan Stanley have required that all New York employees must return to the office by September, but are on the honor system when it comes to getting vaccinated, CO previously reported. Meanwhile, BlackRock employees were required to self-report their vaccination status and the asset manager plans to transition back to in-person work from July through August.

The Washington Post Guild, the union representing the paper, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.