As the new coronavirus epidemic continues to spread around the United States, a number of corporations have begun to take steps to try and reduce or prevent unnecessary exposure to the COVID-19 illness for employees and others.
That would include the Fox News Channel, which will, according to an internal memo from the network’s, CEO Suzanne Scott, and its president, Jay Wallace, implement a number of new temporary policies beginning next week that are intended to “limit personal interaction” out of an abundance of caution with regard to the viral contagion, The Hill reported.
Reducing the “staff footprint”
First and foremost, the network will be “reducing the staff footprint” at its headquarters in New York City as well as its major bureaus around the country, largely by having employees and staff engage in “telecommuting” from home wherever possible.
Concurrent with that, Fox will also be “reducing in-studio bookings” for contributors and guests and relying more on “remotes or Skype” for people invited to appear on various network programs.
Meanwhile, the network will also continue with “extensive sanitizing procedures” that were first implemented about two weeks ago and involve “continuous cleaning and disinfecting” throughout the buildings, “especially all shared spaces and common areas where we have instituted commercial-grade treatments.”
Furthermore, Fox News has also canceled for the time being any live audiences for its programs, such as The Greg Gutfeld Show that airs on the weekends.
Extensive precautionary measures
The memo also revealed that Fox canceled a major ad sales presentation scheduled to be held at its headquarters on March 24, as well as imposed extra precautions for employees who had been to certain countries with large outbreaks or had recently been in contact with others who had visited such places.
Those countries include, but may not be limited to, China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, and anyone who has been there or come into contact with someone who has, not to mention someone who already tested positive for COVID-19, was instructed to notify their manager or the Human Resources department, follow any and all applicable guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and enter into a 14-day self-quarantine, if warranted.
“Please keep in mind that viewers rely on us to stay informed during a crisis of this magnitude and we are providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans,” Scott and Wallace said in the memo.
“We have the utmost concern for your health and safety and while we understand these are difficult circumstances to operate under, the aforementioned contingency plans have been implemented as precautionary measures to ensure your well-being,” the network leaders added.
Fox not alone
The Hill noted that these moves from Fox News come in the wake of decisions from numerous other major networks and corporate entities across the country, to implement similar policies canceling live studio audiences and encouraging telework where feasible.
Meanwhile, dozens of government buildings at the local, state, and federal level have been closed to the public for the time being, virtually all major sports leagues have canceled events or postponed seasons, and large gatherings of people across the country have been scuttled out of a desire to mitigate the likelihood of mass coronavirus infections.