Executives at Sinclair Broadcasting Group have told employees to postpone personal and business travel to five countries identified by federal health officials as having high levels of community contagion of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
In a memo sent to employees last Wednesday, Sinclair’s Corporate Human Resources Assistant Johana Macauley said employees should reconsider travel several countries, including Iran, after they were identified by the Centers for Disease Control as having “widespread or sustained community transmissions” of COVID-19.
“While we know these restrictions may cause inconvenience or changes to your plans, your well-being is our priority and this guidance is designed with that in mind,” Macauley wrote.
It’s not immediately clear how many employees were planning to travel to any of the five countries, or why local television station workers would want to visit Iran.
In addition to the guidance on foreign travel, Sinclair said its employees “are encouraged to refrain from all non-essential business travel” anywhere in the world, including within the United States, “until further notice.” Sinclair workers were urged to use remote videoconferencing solutions like Skype “when possible and practical” in lieu of travel.
The company also asked employees to notify supervisors when they believed they may have come into contact with someone who “has been exposed to COVID-19” or anyone who traveled to any of the five countries specifically targeted by the C.D.C., including Iran.
Sinclair operates more than 190 television stations in nearly 90 communities across the United States, making it one of the largest owners of local broadcast stations in the country. It also owns 21 Fox Sports-branded regional sports networks as well as the Marquee Sports Network, and it has a partial ownership of the YES Network.
The company also operates STIRR, a free, ad-supported streaming television service.