Unvaccinated Metro employees must now submit to twice-weekly testing

Metro is requiring its unvaccinated employees to get tested for COVID-19 twice a week in light of the highly transmissible omicron variant.

According to an internal memo sent to employees, starting Jan. 10, 2022, unvaccinated employees will be required to test for the virus and submit their results to a portal every four days.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority reported that, after Thanksgiving, 18 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded among the transit system’s employees. Two weeks later, more than 100 new cases were reported, according to Metro.

“Our unvaccinated workforce population continues to be overrepresented in new COVID cases as compared to the vaccinated population,” the memo said.

It went on to say that an unvaccinated person is “20 times more likely to have severe complications, including death, as a result of COVID-19.” The increased testing is an effort to “keep people who may not have symptoms from unintentionally spreading the virus.”

WMATA is also asking employees to cancel any indoor group gatherings or celebrations at work, as well as reduce the number of people in break rooms.

In September, Metro implemented a weekly testing regimen for its unvaccinated employees. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union representing WMATA’s workers, supported the decision, though disagreed that employees should bear the costs of the testing requirement.

Then, as it is now, WMATA said that employees who don’t comply with its vaccination and testing mandate will continue to face disciplinary action — including the possibility of termination.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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