Politico employees should start working remotely until at least the end of March, Publisher Robert Allbritton told staffers in a memo Thursday. The publication has canceled all events and restricted travel as well. It will keep its Rosslyn HQ open as a “safe place”—Politico had already begun to clean and sanitize its offices after some of its reporters covered CPAC, where an attendee later tested positive for coronavirus.
Now, Allbritton says, staffers should practice social distancing: “teams should avoid working and meeting together at local coffee shops or other public establishments,” he writes. If you have to meet people face to face, he says, come to the office.
The Washington Post asked its employees to start working from home on Tuesday.
Here’s Allbritton’s memo:
Given the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases this week and that a state of emergency has been declared in locations where we have offices in Washington, D.C., California, and New York I want to provide some important updates.
WORK AT HOME: It’s a time to be smart, be purposeful in our actions. From my perspective, there is no greater priority than to ensure that all of you are safe, healthy, and informed. This is a moment to prioritize doing what’s best for yourself, your families, and your neighbors. As such, and to alleviate any of your concerns, I am strongly requesting that POLITICOS in all of our domestic outposts who are able to do their jobs remotely, please, work from home for the remainder of the month, at which time we will reevaluate. If your manager has not already directly communicated that you should come into the office, you should work from home.
EVENTS POSTPONED: In addition, POLITICO is not going to host any events, internal or external, during this period—another action that we will reevaluate at month’s end.
TRAVEL: Our current travel restrictions will remain in place. As you consider personal travel, please be mindful, make purposeful decisions, and consider others.
THE OFFICES WILL BE OPEN: We do need to keep our core journalistic and business functions up and running, and as such, our offices will remain open for those responsibilities or equipment are essential to come in to do their jobs. For employees who must come into our offices to do their jobs, we have been working around the clock to implement additional safety measures including increased cleansing, sanitizing and limiting visitors. Our goal is to make our offices a safe place. Should you have any questions about those measures, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Traci Schweikert.
SOCIAL DISTANCING: The intention is to implement steps for social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus. The idea is for people to make reasonable modifications to their lives — avoiding large events, working from home if possible, steering clear of crowded public transportation — to minimize the number of exposures and infections. As such, you are strongly encouraged to minimize use of public transit, and to avoid unnecessary events outside of work, such as parties, gatherings, travel, concerts, etc. In addition, POLITICO teams should avoid working and meeting together at local coffee shops or other public establishments. If you must have a face-to-face group meeting, we’d prefer that you have them in the office.
WHAT’S NEXT? We don’t know how long this situation will last, but will remain in regular, steady communication with you as circumstances change. Please understand that these actions are precautionary in nature, and are being implemented out of an abundance of caution to ensure your safety, as we should all do our part to mitigate risk. I’d like to end where I started—from my perspective nothing is more important than your well-being, and I completely understand that you will have questions. If that’s the case, and you have any questions about our policies, benefits, healthcare, or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your manager, HR, or reply to me directly. We will get through this uncertain time together.