CNN is closing its offices to nonessential workers in a return to early pandemic shutdown measures, the cable station announced Saturday.
Only employees who must work onsite will be allowed in US offices and must be masked up, CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a memo to workers.
“We are doing this out of an abundance of caution,” Zucker said in the memo, which was shared with Reuters. “And it will also protect those who will be in the office by minimizing the number of people who are there.”
The move comes as coronavirus cases soar in the US and fears of the new Omicron variant mount.
The start of a new wave of infections has led to cancellations of Broadway shows and other events, reminiscent of the shutdown measures of the early days of the pandemic, when many aspects of daily life and commerce came to a grinding halt.
“Like other major media companies, CNN is making changes due to the new Covid surge,” CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted on Saturday. “Back to 2020 protocols, essentially … TV news 101: Networks always have to ensure that control rooms and shows can remain on the air.”
The restriction is supposed to be temporary — with workers set to return in January, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the closure and cited sources.
CNN had required proof of vaccination for in-office and in-the-field workers, and the station fired three employees last summer – while the return to the office was voluntary — for going to work without having been jabbed. Zucker said at the time that the company has a “zero-tolerance policy” about people coming to work unvaccinated.