UPDATED: ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish issued a memo Thursday advising employees that the company is now requiring all U.S. workers to work at home until further notice after a third person tested positive for coronavirus.
“We now have a third confirmed case of an employee testing positive for the virus — a person who had been working with the other two employees who had previously tested positive for COVID-19,” his memo read.
The affected buildings (5th floor of the Broadcast Center in New York, and another on the 9th floor of 555 West 57th Street) are being fully disinfected, while international employees will be advised on plans. Bakish said the senior team was working to keep the number of employees who had to remain in the building “as low as it could be.”
Previously, CBS News President Susan Zirinsky had advised employees in New York to work remotely for at least two days after two employees at its production facilities tested positive for coronavirus. Employees who came into contact with the two people in question have been asked to self-quarantine and remain away from the offices for 14 days, the executive said.
“Our broadcasts will continue to go on and we are working with every [executive producer] and [streaming-video service] CBSN and each has determined the best alternative location to originate,” Zirinsky said.
The employees affected worked at 524 West 57th Street, a facility from which “CBS This Morning” broadcasts, and at 555 West 57th Street, which houses the offices of “60 Minutes.”
The executive’s note is the latest to indicate New York TV operations are being affected by the spread of coronavirus across the U.S. Already, some New York based TV shows are going without live audiences.
“At this point, we anticipate the offices will be open Monday,” Zirinsky said. “We will communicate guidance on the reopening of the building in the days ahead.”