By Railfan & Railroad Staff
WASHINGTON — All Amtrak employees will have to be fully vaccinated by November 1 or be tested weekly for COVID-19, the passenger railroad told employees this week. The railroad also stated that starting October 4, all new employees will need to show proof of vaccination prior to their first day on the job.
The decision to require Amtrak employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly comes as new variants of the COVID-19 virus emerge. Despite the surge in cases, only 50 percent of the country is fully vaccinated.
“Because vaccines are the best way to protect ourselves, our families, and our customers, we have made some important decisions regarding Amtrak vaccination requirements, COVID-19 pay protection, and our return to worksites date,” the railroad told employees this week.
The November 1 date also coincides with the date that Amtrak employees currently working remotely will need to return to the office. The railroad has also decided that employees who test positive for the virus even if they are vaccinated will be paid during their two-week quarantine. Those who are not vaccinated and get the virus will not be paid.
Amtrak has said that employees with valid medical or religious reasons will be exempt from needing to be vaccinated.
Amtrak is not alone in requiring its people to get vaccinated. This week, a number of other transportation companies and the military said they would require their employees to also be vaccinated.