Many New York-based fashion editors are finishing up a hectic fashion month, having traveled to London, Milan and now at their final stop in Paris. But as they prepare to bid au revoir to Europe and head back Stateside next week, the question many are posing at the front rows of Parisian fashion shows is will they be allowed back at their desks due to coronavirus fears?
For now, the answer appears to be mixed, with several U.S. media companies adopting a hard line to contain the spread of the virus that began in China and has reached other parts of the world including Italy where many editors attended Milan Fashion Week. Other outlets have stressed that they are monitoring the situation closely and will adjust policies if guidelines change.
Among those taking the most precautions is Hearst Magazines, publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire. President Troy Young sent out a company-wide memo earlier this week, informing staffers that anyone who’s been to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea in the past 30 days is required to work from home for 14 days and “should return to work only if they’re symptom-free after that time.” For fashion editors, most of whom are currently in Paris, this will mean that they are able to return to the office 14 days after they left Italy. Milan Fashion Week took place between Feb. 18 and Feb. 24.
On Tuesday, Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, advised employees who have traveled to Italy since Feb. 6, or live with someone who has been there, to self-quarantine by working from home for 14 days, only returning to work when free of any cold or flu symptoms. This will impact members of its fashion team, plus staffers at the WSJ Magazine, who traveled to Milan for the shows.
InStyle owner Meredith Corp. is also understood to be offering a voluntary two-week self-quarantine for anyone recently back from Milan and other impacted areas that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has flagged.
And that’s not it. Penske Media, owner of WWD as well as Variety and Rolling Stone, also this week advised staffers traveling from an impacted area, including Italy, to work from home upon their return for 14 days.
Over at Condé Nast, whose titles include Vogue, Glamour and GQ, editors will be allowed back at One World Trade Center immediately, although they can stay at home if they wish to do so. This could change, though, as executives are following the recommendations of local governments and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will adjust policies accordingly.
Bustle Digital Group, which owns the namesake Bustle as well as Nylon, told WWD that it is “monitoring the novel coronavirus situation very closely.” “We are prepared for any next steps that we need to taken,” a spokeswoman for the digital media company said.
The New York Times, meanwhile, did not divulge its policies, but a spokesman told WWD that the health and safety of its employees is its “top priority” and it has protocols for all staff returning from affected areas.
Reports of the coronavirus hitting Italy coincided with the end of Milan Fashion Week, leading to the cancellation of a number of fashion shows for the fall 2020 and resort seasons, including Giorgio Armani who revealed on Feb. 22 that he would no longer be hosting a public runway show in Milan for his fall 2020 collection. Chinese fashion brands Angel Chen and Ricostru also canceled their fashion shows in Milan.
To date, there have been 400 reported cases of coronavirus in Italy.
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