Delta Air Lines is now requiring employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks in all indoor Delta settings, according to a memo sent by company CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday. In addition, weekly COVID tests will be required for any employee who is not fully vaccinated as of Sep. 12. The memo also stated that unvaccinated employees enrolled in Delta’s healthcare plan will be subject to a $200 monthly surcharge beginning Nov. 1.
“The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company. In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”
The mask requirement is expected to remain in place “until community case rates stabilize.” According to Delta, approximately 75 percent of its employees are currently vaccinated against COVID-19. Along with the spread of virus variants, Bastian cited the FDA’s Monday announcement that it has granted full approval for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.