U.S. railroad Amtrak to require employee vaccinations or testing, memo says

An Amtrak train is parked at the platform inside New York's Penn Station, the nation's busiest train hub, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak will require all of its 18,000 employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 or submit to weekly testing.

The railroad also said starting Oct. 4 all new employees will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated before their first day of employment. Amtrak also said employees working remotely will not be required to return to their Amtrak office or facility until Nov. 1.

"We did not come to these decisions lightly, and we understand it may take some time to process, which is why we are providing you with time to prepare," Amtrak Chief Executive Bill Flynn told employees.

Amtrak also said it would restore pay benefits for fully vaccinated employees who contract COVID-19 and need to quarantine after testing positive.

On Friday, United Airlines Inc said it would require all its U.S.-based employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 25.

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Barbara Lewis

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