Amtrak Becomes Latest Travel Company to Mandate Vaccines for Employees
Amtrak became the latest company to require vaccinations for employees on Thursday, joining several airlines that have mandated the jab.
The rail company will require all employees be either fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing by Nov. 1, Amtrak shared with Travel + Leisure. In addition, all new employees will have to prove they are fully vaccinated before their first day starting Oct. 4.
Employees must submit proof of their vaccination to Amtrak's self-service portal. Employees can apply for an exemption for medical or religious reasons.
"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's Chief Executive Officer Bill Flynn told employees in a letter that was shared with T+L. "While we recognize this is a personal decision for each of us, we are confident it is in the long-term best interest for our colleagues, our customers and our company."
Amtrak will restore pay protection for fully-vaccinated employees who contract COVID-19 as a reward to those who get the jab, retroactive to Aug. 1. The company also said employees who are currently working remotely will not be required to return to an office until Nov. 1.
Beyond employee vaccinations, passengers can see how full a train is before booking and must wear face masks — as is required by the federal government for all public transportation. Amtrak trains are also equipped with onboard filtration systems that circulate fresh air every 4 to 5 minutes and are cleaned with EPA-registered cleaning products.
Amtrak no longer limits capacity on trains but will continue to waive change fees for reservations made by Sept. 6
The decision comes after United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Frontier Airlines each enacted a vaccine mandate for U.S.-based employees. Delta Air Lines requires all new U.S. hires to be vaccinated.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.