Washington Post tells employees to work remotely until September

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Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan said Thursday that the newspaper’s offices will remain closed until after Labor Day, writing in a memo to staff that “we have concerns that we cannot adequately safeguard the health of our employees with a return to office work.”

“We thought it would be a matter of a few weeks before we could safely return,” Ryan said. “[But] we have concerns that we cannot adequately safeguard the health of our employees with a return to office work.”

“We are all anxious to get back to the collegial environment of The Post and enjoy the chance to interact in person with our colleagues,” the 65-year-old Ryan continued. “However, in making this decision, the safety of our employees will be the determining factor.”

He also urged employees, who were initially told to work from home on March 11, to use vacation time over the summer.

“While there are certain steps that we can implement in our internal work spaces, there are risks associated with building common spaces, food services and transportation. I’ve asked that we use a ‘portal to portal’ standard to examine all risks that Post employees might face from the moment they leave their home until they return at the end of their workday,” Ryan added.

The announcement comes one day after Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced an extension of the District’s stay-at-home order through June 8, declaring that a rush “to reopen could have tragic results.” 

The overall death toll in D.C. is currently at 350, according to a New York Times tracker.

Several news organizations, including CNN, have announced they will continue to have most employees work from home during the summer.

In a memo last month, CNN President Jeff Zucker told employees that the expectation is “that the rest of you will not return before early September, with a few exceptions in July for newsgathering and some in August, depending on the political conventions.”

“Of course, none of these dates are set in stone, with many questions left to be answered before we can move forward. But, to be clear, production of our programs will continue from home, as it is now, until the end of summer. Same for digital,” he added.

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