As the Delta variant of Covid-19 rages, and it seems like the pandemic will never end, more companies are formalizing their Covid policies.
On top of this, U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. This requirement is expected to impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses.
Our sister publication FierceWireless recently reported that both T-Mobile and AT&T already have vaccination requirements for some of their employees. The other big wireless carriers were more lax in their policies as of September 2.
We wondered how wired telecommunications operators in the U.S. were handling their Covid policies, so we reached out. Comcast already has some vaccine requirements for certain employees. Altice and Cox are implementing vaccine requirements soon. Other wired service providers are still more general in their policies.
Here’s a roundup of current policies, according to the service providers (as of September 13, 2021):
Comcast — Comcast is requiring office-based employees who come back to work to be vaccinated, reported the New York Times, last week.
A Comcast spokesperson told Fierce that most Comcast office employees are still working from home. The company recently delayed its official office reopening from September to no earlier than October 18.
“At this point in time most of our office-based employees are continuing to work remotely,” said the spokesperson. The company had a “soft opening” at its Philadelphia campus over the summer for some Comcast employees to come into the office for certain meetings. Those employees are required to be fully vaccinated.
The spokesperson added, “We’ve had protocols in place throughout the pandemic. Those protocols have been based on science, CDC guidelines and consideration of local and state mandates. As things change we’re going to continue to adapt our plans and protocols.”
Altice — A spokesperson told Fierce via email, “Recently, we added the requirement that all employees be fully vaccinated by November 1 or submit to weekly at-home testing.”
The spokesperson added, “Throughout the pandemic, Altice has made safety a priority for our people and customers with an approach that utilizes the wearing of masks, daily health screenings for all employees, along with managing capacity within our facilities through remote work arrangements and voluntary onsite occupancy. Also, our customer-facing teams have utilized screening calls and from-home deployments as protective measures for all.”
For its retail stores, it’s taken a similar approach by enacting capacity limits and requiring employees and customers to wear masks.
Cox — A Cox spokesperson said via email, “We are evaluating market by market based on threat level, but we are currently requiring masks for all retail store employees and service technicians when they are inside customer homes or outside and can’t social distance."
He added, “By October 18, we are also requiring employees in certain locations to be fully vaccinated, except those with approved religious and medical exemptions. With the rapid spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, vaccines are an important step to protect the health and safety of our employees, families, customers and communities. We will continue to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health officials to assess our markets as the situation evolves.”
Charter — A Charter spokesperson said, “We continue to follow local orders by state. Employees not vaccinated must wear masks, and we require daily health checks for all employees before reporting to work. We have strongly encouraged employees to get vaccinated and have extensively promoted vaccination and hosted multiple vaccination events at our facilities."
At Charter retail stores, employees and customers are required to wear face coverings where required by state or local order. Employees not vaccinated are required to wear face coverings.