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Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI announced on its website for Freedom of Information Act matters Tuesday that it's only accepting requests sent through the mail and won't process electronic ones "[d]ue to the emerging COVID-19 situation."

Why it matters: New Trump administration guidelines in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak recommend social distancing measures, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people. There's a global push for people who are able to switch to online work remotely to do so.

A screenshot of the FBI eFOIPA web page.
  • The Freedom of Information Act was intended to make federal government functions more transparent, providing Americans with the right to request access to records from any federal agency.

The intrigue: It is unclear from the statement posted to the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act submission portal page why it wants requests sent in the mail.

What they're saying: While the FBI has yet to comment publicly on the reason for its decision, a government attorney said in a statement to BuzzFeed the "rapidly evolving" outbreak is forcing the FBI to "drastically reduce its FOIA processing because it cannot do the work remotely, due to the system’s security constraints."

  • "The FOIA processors need to be on-site to do the work, but they are too closely positioned to be able to conform to the new social distancing guidance," the attorney added. "FBI is working on a response, but it is not clear when it will have one. And the production scheduled for the end of this month is now on hold, along with productions in many other cases."

Flashback: Forget email. The FBI wants your requests via fax

Go deeper

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.

1 hour ago - Health

Federal judge blocks Biden vaccine mandate for health workers

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities nationwide.

The big picture: The order comes one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely

Chris Cuomo in 2019. Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for THR

CNN announced Tuesday evening that it has suspended anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely following new revelations about his involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Driving the news: New documents released Monday showed that Cuomo used his contacts to garner information about the women accusing his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of sexual harassment, as well as of emerging media coverage relating to the scandal.