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CNN closes offices to nonessential employees over COVID-19 concerns

Photo by Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

CNN announced Saturday that it would be closing all offices to nonessential personnel due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, released a company memo viewed by Reuters announcing the changes in company policy to employees of the network.

"We are doing this out of an abundance of caution," Zucker said in a memo. "And it will also protect those who will be in the office by minimizing the number of people who are there," Zuker continued.

Employees who are required to come into the offices to work must wear a mask at all times except when eating and when they are in the room alone, according to the memo viewed by Reuters.

The decision to close offices to nonessential personnel is based on concern over rising cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the new Omicron variant. The Omicron variant was first detected on Nov 11, 2021, in Botswana and has now spread to 45 states, according to the latest data from the CDC. Preliminary indications are that Omicron is more infectious, but less serious, than previous coronavirus variants.

CNN anchor and chief correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted portions of Zucker's memo Saturday explaining that the company would essentially be reverting to 2020 protocol.

CNN offices are closing "'to all employees who do not have to be in the office to do their jobs,' per internal memo tonight. Back to 2020 protocols, essentially," Stelter tweeted Saturday.

Stelter expressed support for Zucker's decision, adding these decisions were made to ensure that the network's programs stay on the air. "TV news 101: Networks always have to ensure that control rooms and shows can remain on the air," Stelter tweeted.

CNN began its plan to return employees to the office back in March, after making the decision to temporarily halt in-person work for employees whose jobs didn't require them to be in the office, according to The Hill.

In August, the network fired three employees after it was discovered that they had not taken the vaccine, according to The Hill.

The termination of the three former employees came after CNN mandated a company vaccination for employees who would be working in the office, according to The Hill.

Zucker stated in a memo obtained by The Hill in August that the company previously had an honor-based system regarding vaccination status but made it clear that the network has a "zero-tolerance policy" for employees who refuse to get vaccinated.

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