NYC's Government Is Planning To Bring Back Some Workers By The End Of The Year
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is mulling bringing a quarter of the city's government workforce back to the office in the next two-and-a-half months.
The government is the biggest employer in New York City and the largest occupier of office space, and it could bring 25% of its workers back to its facilities across the five boroughs, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing an anonymous source. The city could adjust the approach if cases of the coronavirus spike.
“Like every employer, we’re closely monitoring the dynamic public health crisis and developing reopening strategies accordingly,” said Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for de Blasio. He declined to confirm the plans or the timing, according to the WSJ. “As soon as it’s safe, New York City will set the standard for bringing the workforce back safely, efficiently, and sustainably.”
He added that an individual plan is being created for each city agency.
Though commercial buildings have been legally allowed to open under the government’s phased reopening plan for months, few workers have returned to their NYC offices.
Multiple landlords have told Bisnow their buildings remain largely empty, though the real estate industry has been running a campaign to encourage people to return to the office in order to help the city’s ailing economy.
“When you look at what happened post-9/11, there was that sense of patriotic, 'We’re going to beat this together,' and I feel now, there’s a little bit of like we’re surrendering to the virus,” RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler said on a Bisnow webinar last month. “When I talk to colleagues who have not returned to the city, they are asking questions as if they are going to a foreign country. This is our city.”
The mayor has also encouraged workers to go back into the office to bolster the city’s economy. Even so, major companies are pushing their return-to-work plans back to July next year, as companies start planning for the long haul and a widely available vaccine looks unlikely before summer 2021.