Passenger railroad operator Amtrak said Tuesday it will suspend its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees and no longer expects service disruptions in January.
Amtrak Chief Executive Bill Flynn said in a memo obtained by The Epoch Times that employees who aren’t vaccinated can get tested instead. Fewer than 500 Amtrak workers are unvaccinated, he said.
Informing Amtrak’s decision was a recent federal court order that “halted the enforcement of the executive order for federal contractors” which caused the firm to reevaluate its policy toward vaccine mandates, Flynn wrote.
It means Amtrak will revert back to its original vaccine mandate that it announced in August, which allows for regular testing of unvaccinated workers, Flynn said. That will allow “for testing as an alternative to getting vaccinated,” the memo said.
The memo added that Amtrak employees “required to submit testing and fail to do so will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence initially.”
Amtrak, a quasi-public corporation that receives some federal dollars, was slated to terminate the employment of about 500 unvaccinated workers next month and anticipated service cuts. Amtrak president Stephen Gardner testified during a House hearing last week that he expected cuts because the railroad operator didn’t have enough staff to operate all its trains.
Read More: Amtrak Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Employees: Chief Executive