Fox News drops testing option for office workers and will require vaccination

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Employees in Fox News’s New York office will now have to show proof of vaccine, the Fox Corporation told staff on Friday.

The company is removing the choice for employees to opt for a test instead of a shot, and will require them to have their first dose by 27 December, the New York Times reported.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a mandate that requires businesses to enforce vaccinations among their staff or face fines. The mayor called it a “pre-emptive strike” to curb the winter spread of Covid, and the highly contagious Omicron variant.

“This is the biggest crisis not only of our time, but in the history of New York City,” Mr Blasio said in a statement to press. “We cannot let Covid back in the door again.”

The Fox Corporation has said that it is following the mandate in New York. A memo sent by the head of Human Resources Kevin Lord in September confirmed that 90 per cent of employees at Fox Corporation had been vaccinated, despite many of Fox News’s anchors undermining vaccine messaging.

Fox host Tucker Carlson, for example, who gets an average of three to four million viewers for his show, told his audience to ignore "medical advice on television," after his fellow presenters promoted Covid shots. Hosts Steve Doocey, John Roberts and Sean Hannity have all advised their viewers to get the Covid vaccine.

"You shouldn't comply mindlessly. You're an American adult. You're allowed to ask simple questions and then demand clear answers," said Mr Carlson.

New York recorded 122,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week, according to John's Hopkins University, with officials reporting 21,027 cases of the virus on Friday – the most cases any US state has seen in a single day, since the start of the pandemic.

Those in the private sector could face $1,000 per violation of staff not vaccinated — the rules will apply to around 184,000 businesses.

“New York City will not give a single inch in the fight against Covid-19. Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“From workplace mandates, to $100 incentives, to mobile and at-home vaccination offerings, no place in the nation has done more to end the Covid era. And if you have not taken this step yet: there’s no better day than today to stand up for your city.”

The Independent has contacted Fox News for further comment.