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Tag: masks

Maskless DOJ Employees Won’t Have to Prove Vaccination Status, Memo Says

Justice Department employees won’t have to prove they were vaccinated if they decide to enter the agency’s buildings without a mask. 

In a memo obtained by The Hill, managers were instructed not to ask employees about their vaccination status.

The memo comes just after vaccinated federal employees were given permission to go inside the agency’s buildings without a mask following new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“Supervisors and managers should not ask about an employee’s vaccination status or use information about an employee’s vaccination status to make decisions about how and when employees will report to a workplace instead of teleworking,” the DOJ told employees in a Friday email. 

The new policy is in stark contrast to the DOJ’s guidance in February that gave employers permission to inquire about their employees’ vaccination status. 

The email on Friday said employees have the option to continue wearing masks. 

“As we go forward, we ask everyone to respect the wishes of our colleagues and visitors and ensure that anyone who chooses to continue wearing a mask while in department buildings and facilities may continue to do so without interference,” DOJ said. 

TSA Official Blows Whistle on Agency’s Failures to Protect Employees, Travelers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior TSA official in Kansas filed a complaint against the agency, saying it failed to provide adequate training and protective gear to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

The TSA reports that 706 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, and five have died.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, said supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our people became Typhoid Marys and contributed to the spread of that virus because TSA senior leadership did not make sure (screeners) were adequately protected,” Brainard told The Associated Press.

Brainard’s complaint prompted the Office of Special Counsel to order Homeland Security to investigate.

In a statement, the TSA insisted if followed CDC guidelines in protecting employees.

Brainard countered that the TSA failed to notify screeners that they should change gloves after every pat-down.

Secret Service Agents Ordered to Wear Masks around President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents who are likely to come into close contact with President Trump have been ordered to wear masks.

ABC News reports that stricter measures have been put in place after two aides at the White House have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Any meetings the president goes to, people will maintain maximum social distancing measures,” one administration official told ABC News.

The Secret Service would not comment on the matter.

Trump is routinely observed not wearing a mask while coming into close contact with people.

There also were talks about separating Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but it appears that will not happen and the pair will continue to attending meetings together.

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Facial Coverings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA said Thursday it will begin requiring employees to wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints, more than two months after the pandemic reached the U.S.

The decision comes after 534 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and six have died, as of Thursday.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” the TSA said in a statement.

The decision to require masks is “an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment,” the TSA said.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

TSA Workers Sew Masks to Help Others on Their Free Time

Susan Schultz, via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus has ravaged TSA workers, infecting 378 of them and killing two.

Now some healthy TSA workers, while at home, are sewing masks for family, friends and first responders.

Supervisory TSA officer Susan Schultz, who works at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee, sometimes works until midnight, sewing hundreds of masks because her community needs them. She has developed a method to sew masks in about seven minutes.

More than most workers, TSA employees know the risks of the coronavirus.

Justine Waldron, a TSA officer who works at Barnstable Municipal Airport (HYA) on Cape Cod, has made more than 140 colorful masks, some of which have Native American and navigation themes. Others include comic book characters. She’s giving them to family, friends and TSA employees for when they’re off work.

“I really wanted to do my part,” Waldron says in a TSA news release. “People are scared and the masks will help,”

Waldron refuses to take others’ money to pay for the masks.

“Some people have tried to give me money, but that’s just not the right thing to do,” she said. “We all need to stay healthy and get past” the pandemic.

FBI Uncovers International Scheme to Dupe Union Out of 39M Masks for Health Care Workers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI uncovered an international scam to sell a fake stockpile of 39 million masks to a California union representing health care workers.

FBI agents discovered there were no masks while trying to determine whether they could intercept the supplies for the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Defense Production Act, The Los Angeles Times first reported.

U.S. Atty. Scott Brady of the Western District of Pennsylvania said the union, which he did not identify, was duped.

A Pittsburgh businessman had been trying to help the union secure millions of masks by connecting with a broker in Australia and a supplier in Kuwait, Brady said. Now the broker and supplier are the subject of a federal investigation.

“There are opportunists who are looking for any victim,” Brady said.

The union and businessman are not under investigation.