(UPDATED WITH NBC NEWS STATEMENT) With a number of members of the media in America and around the globe already sequestered due to growing coronavirus fears, CBS News today saw two of its own team test positive. At the same time NBC News is taking a cautious approach beginning next week.
In a memo sent to staff in the last hour, CBS News President Susan Zirinsky made the announcement about the sick staffers. The network news boss also told NYC employees to “work remotely for the next two days while the buildings are cleaned and disinfected.” (Read the full memo below)
This does not affect the fabled Black Rock corporate offices in Manhattan, sources tell me. However, that is probably not much comfort to the people who work in the now emptying out of the buildings at 57th Street.
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NBC News and MSNBC are asking employees in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to work remotely or stagger working hours is they are able to do so starting on Monday.
“These efforts will help reduce over-crowding on public transportation and do our part to reduce potential coronavirus exposures,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and MSNBC president Phil Griffin wrote to employees.
They wrote that because many employees have to work on site because of production needs, “the vast majority of people who work for NBC News shows, MSNBC and NBC News NOW will continue to come to work in the building. Some show teams will experiment with staggered schedules. We will encourage working from home where possible and have already been preparing for that. We do have teams who can work remotely with limited operational impact, for example certain Digital teams and functional teams.”
HERE IS THE FULL MEMO FROM SUSAN ZIRINSKY
We have learned that two employees – one working on the 5th floor of the 524 building of the Broadcast Center and another on the 9th floor of 555 West 57th Street – tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have been planning for this possibility and want everyone to be assured that we are taking all necessary measures. We are asking that employees in both buildings work remotely for the next two days while the buildings are cleaned and disinfected. In addition, we have identified employees who may have been in direct contact with these individuals in question, and they will be asked to self-quarantine and work remotely for the next 14 days.
At this point, we anticipate the offices will be open Monday. We will communicate guidance on the reopening of the building in the days ahead.
Our broadcasts will continue to go on and we are working with every EP and CBSN and each has determined the best alternative location to originate.
As a reminder, here are instructions for remote access:
Employees should view the OKTA Guide for instructions on how to use OKTA. The outlook web email can be accessed at xxxxxx. If you have issues with remote access, please utilize this IT hotline….212-xxx-xxxx (staffed 24hrs a day).
We know this is disruptive but your safety is our top priority.
We will continue to update you through our normal conference calls and please reach out to your managers with any questions.
Also, the following information and resources are available from our corporate team:
The ViacomCBS Global Security Team is coordinating closely with health officials and local authorities and we will be sure to provide you with additional information once it is available. In the meantime, we will continue to update our emergency hotline, 1-866-xxx-xxxx (866-xxx-xxxx) and website, xxxxxxx, to reflect the status of our business operations.
Your health and safety remains our number one priority. For information about COVID-19, our policies and response efforts, visit The Greenroom or CBS & YOU where you can download and view our factsheets.
If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to email xxxxxxxxx or contact your HR business partner.
WE WILL UPDATE YOU AS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
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