​AMTRAK SUSPENDS VACCINE MANDATE FOR EMPLOYEES & ALLOWS TESTING INSTEAD

Amtrak, the U.S. passenger railroad company, sent a memo on Tuesday to employees saying it is temporarily suspending the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees​. It will be reverting to its previous requirement allowing unvaccinated employees to get tested.

The memo to employees said it would allow employees who were not vaccinated to get tested on a weekly basis instead, citing litigation over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. This action will avoid Amtrak from cutting some service in January, that they previously predicted.

The memo was from Chief Executive Bill Flynn who said to employees, “Recently a federal district court decision halted the enforcement of the Executive Order for federal contractors. This caused the company to reevaluate our policy and to address the uncertainty about the federal requirements that apply to Amtrak.”

The rail company’s revised rules will be in effect as the executive order requiring federal contract workers to get vaccinated remains on pause. The order has been stalled as the legal fight over whether President Joe Biden exceeded his authority with the mandate continues.

Amtrak said that while Biden’s order is being litigated, unvaccinated employees will be able to remain on the job as long as they submit a negative COVID test at least weekly.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed Amtrak’s decision during a White House press briefing Tuesday. She said the Biden administration has encouraged companies to require vaccination or testing.

Flynn said the company would continue to update its vaccine policy as needed, calling the most recent change “prudent” considering the court ruling and the coronavirus pandemic.

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