EXCLUSIVE: Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham may be railing against the dangers of the coronavirus and the surging Delta variant, but their bosses and some of their colleagues are singing a very different tune.
As the breakdown between the vaccinated and unvaccinated increasingly reflect political perspectives in the pandemic and conjecture over cable news, Fox corporate is embracing the letter and spirit of both the science and recently introduced mask mandates in L.A. County.
“Los Angeles County will re-implement a face covering mandate, effective July 18,” said an email sent out Friday to all Fox staff in the region. “Masks will be required indoors across Los Angeles County, including at Fox locations, regardless of your vaccination status beginning Sunday morning,” the brief note stated (bold emphasis was in the original Fox email).
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That means all Fox staff, execs and creatives on the lot and offices in West LA and other venues, including the heavily trafficked Fox News Channel bureau on the far side of the 405 freeway.
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Over the weekend, Los Angeles County put in place a requirement for masks indoors in all public places — no matter a person’s vaccination status. It did so as cases nearly doubled in five days last week, from 1,094 on Monday to 1,902. The county’s average daily rate of new cases — a key metric of spread — was only one per 100,000 residents on June 15 when the state reopened. On Friday, it rose to 8.2 per 100,000, driven by the Delta variant, which has become dominant in the county.
Nationwide, the delta variant drove the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (26,306) up 69.3% last week, compared with the previous 7-day moving average (15,541).
The blunt message from the HR department of the Lachlan Murdoch run media and entertainment company last week comes as FNC especially has been hit hard for primetime hosts and others spreading disinformation and confusion about the virus and the vaccines. Today, two separate Fox News hosts adopted a much more straightforward and supportive stance towards their viewers getting the shots.
“If you have the chance, get the shot, it will save your life,” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said to his large early morning audience. The comments by Doocy came during a segment on F&F about the uphill battle the Biden administration have admitted they are facing in convincing a significant portion of the public to get vaccinated, even as the more contagious Delta variant is spreading like wildfire across the nation.
No long afterwards on Monday, fellow FNC host Bill Hemmer also gave vaccination efforts — which are lagging to put it mildly in most states and noticeably in Red States — some juice.
“The vaccine works, right? We haven’t budged on that, have we, doc?” Hemmer said in an interview with frequent FNC medical contributor Marc Siegel. “the vaccine works extremely well even against the Delta variant, preventing infection in 90 percent of case,” the soundbite friendly NYU physician and WHO critical replied
Perhaps a preview of today’s on-air proclamations came last week when Sean Hannity himself took a more holistic approach. “I want my audience to live, the self-admitted vaccinated FNC Big Dog declared, urging his viewers to educate themselves as much as possible with their own doctors about Covid-19 risks and vaccination opportunities. “I don’t want anyone dying from this thing. It’s dangerous. Take it seriously.”
In point of fact, it seems that the upper echelons of Fox have been taking the consequences of the pandemic very seriously, even if some of their hosts haven’t.
Back on June 22, the company sent out a much longer email to all of approximately 9,000 strong US staffers outlining the company policy on vaccinations and work.
“Employees who may be fully vaccinated but who have not entered their vaccination information into Workday will be considered unvaccinated under Company policies,” said the correspondence (bold emphasized by Fox). Read the full Fox HR June 22 email below.
“Unvaccinated employees must continue to comply with all of FOX’s COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing at work unless an exception applies (e.g., they are alone in an office),” the email added. “Unvaccinated employees must also continue to complete the WorkCare Daily Screen to obtain a “Green Screen” for access to your employment location.”
Fox HR asked vaccinated employees to upload their “vaccination status” so that they would “not required to wear a mask or socially distance while at work” (bold emphasized by Fox). “However, please keep in mind that some FOX worksites are owned or managed by third parties that may have different requirements to which all FOX employees must continue to adhere,” the email said.
Now, in accordance with likely to change even more L.A. County requirements, LA Foxers had to adhere at the company’s own worksites.
READ THE FULL JUNE 22 FOX VACCINATION POLICY EMAIL HERE:
As we have throughout the pandemic, FOX is following the guidance and policies of the Centers for Disease Control as well as state and local jurisdictions. With mask-wearing and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals being lifted in nearly all the areas where we operate, FOX has made several important updates to our COVID-19 protocols as described below. For us to provide the most flexibility to our employees, we strongly encourage everyone who has been fully vaccinated to upload their vaccination information into Workday. Instructions on this secure process are available here.
The new policies at FOX, which are effective immediately, are as follows:
Fully Vaccinated Employees Who Have Uploaded Their Vaccination Status Into Workday
• Fully vaccinated individuals who have entered their vaccination information into Workday are not required to wear a mask or socially distance while at work. Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. However, please keep in mind that some FOX worksites are owned or managed by third parties that may have different requirements to which all FOX employees must continue to adhere.
• Fully vaccinated individuals who have entered their vaccination information into Workday will be provided a FOX Clear Pass and allowed to complete a self-screening process on their own each day before reporting to work. These employees will no longer be required to complete the WorkCare Daily Screen and, rather, will be provided a permanent “Green Screen” to gain access to their employment locations.
Unvaccinated Employees or Employees Who Have NOT Uploaded Their Vaccination Status Into Workday
• Unvaccinated employees must continue to comply with all of FOX’s COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing at work unless an exception applies (e.g., they are alone in an office). Unvaccinated employees must also continue to complete the WorkCare Daily Screen to obtain a “Green Screen” for access to your employment location.
• NOTE: Employees who may be fully vaccinated but who have not entered their vaccination information into Workday will be considered unvaccinated under Company policies.
Our complete COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines are available on Backstage.
Thank you for following these new procedures and for all that you have done and continue to do to keep yourselves and your colleagues safe.
Deadline’s Tom Tapp contributed to this report.
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