Dec 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Amtrak warns of service reduction due to vaccine mandate

An Amtrak worker keeps watch from aboard an Amtrak train during a station stop on December 9, 2021 in Fullerton, California.
An Amtrak worker keeps watch from an Amtrak train during a station stop on Dec. 9 in Fullerton, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Amtrak faces the threat of a service reduction in January if more employees don't receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the company's president said, per AP.

Driving the news: About 95% of Amtrak workers are at least partially vaccinated ahead of the Jan. 4 vaccination deadline set for employees of federal contractors by the Biden administration, per AP.

  • "We anticipate proactively needing to temporarily reduce some train frequencies across our network in January to avoid staffing-related cancellations," Amtrak's president Stephen Gardner warned if employees resist getting the shots before the deadline.

The big picture: Gardner's remarks come after Amtrak cut its workforce significantly after travel on Amtrak slowed due to the pandemic, AP writes. Passenger traffic is up to about 70% of what it was before the pandemic, Gardner said.

  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that she is not concerned about potential disruption to services due to the vaccine mandate, per AP.
  • "We don’t expect these requirements will cause disruptions to services that people depend on,” Psaki said during a briefing. "There is some time to implement it."
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