Fox News said Monday that several people at the network recently tested positive for Covid-19, on the heels of a report that several top anchors and commentators are quarantining at home.
With an eye toward the all-important Election Night coverage next week, the network said “we will be further reducing some of the workforce in our buildings” out of an abundance of caution.
The network will be “operating virtually wherever possible” this week, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace said in a Monday morning memo to staffers. This means that a greater number of shows will be hosted from the home studios of Fox’s on-air talent.
Fox and other media outlets have been taking precautions amid a new surge in coronavirus infections and an overarching sense that news staffers must be healthy and ready to anchor vote-counting coverage that could continue for multiple days next week.
On Election Night, “only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted to work from” the network’s headquarters in New York, Monday’s memo said.
Fox did not identify any of the people at the network who have tested positive, but said there are “a few” cases across the company.
On Sunday night The New York Times reported that Wallace and “several of the network’s top anchors,” including Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “have been advised to quarantine after being exposed to someone on a private flight who later tested positive for the coronavirus.”
The private flight was chartered by Fox to bring staffers back from the presidential debate in Nashville last Thursday. “The Five” co-hosts Dana Perino and Juan Williams were also on board the flight, according to The Times.
The Fox stars who were on the plane “are expected to host their shows from home for the time being,” the paper said.
Some Fox personalities already had home studios before the pandemic; the network installed dozens more in March when work-from-home measures were instituted in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease. In recent months, the network’s programming has been a mix of in-studio and at-home production.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN Business that a Fox employee tested positive for Covid-19 following the flight from Nashville to Washington.
But the network is not confirming the Times report or commenting on it, citing the confidentiality of employee health records