New York City will be bringing remote-working municipal employees back to their offices on May 3 in another big step towards reopening the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the declaration on Tuesday, vowing to bring back the 80,000 employees who have been working from home during the pandemic.
Approximately 300,000 people work for the city, but that includes jobs like police officers and sanitation workers who didn’t have the option of working remotely.
De Blasio estimated that about 80 percent of the workforce for the city were already back working on site prior to this announcement because they have frontline roles.
‘We’re going to make it safe, but we need our city workers back in their offices where they can do the most to help their fellow New Yorkers,’ de Blasio said.
‘And it’s also going to send a powerful message about this city moving forward.’
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an in-person return for municipal office workers
‘A lot of work going on in the next few weeks, working with the municipal labor movement, make sure we get things right, and we are devoted to health and safety in all things.’
‘But this is an important step for the city and it’s another other important step on the way to the full recovery of New York City.’
The New York Times reports city employees will not be required to be vaccinated upon their return to the office, due to legal concerns, but it will be encouraged.
De Blasio made reference to safety measures being put in place, from social distancing to improved ventilation.
The mayor also made mention of his expectations to see commerce and tourism increase over the summer as the city attempts to return to a sense of normalcy.
Employees who are unable to socially distance from other people will be required to wear a facemask, according to Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin.
She said: ‘We will be doing staggered schedules, you know, making sure that people are in the office sometimes, working remotely sometimes, so that we can ensure enough space to keep our employees safe.’
It wasn’t immediately clear what the staggered schedules will look like.
A spokesman for the mayor said that the return to offices will be delayed if coronavirus cases surge again, according to the New York Times.
Around 80,000 employees will be returning to offices such as City Hall in Manhattan
Pictured: The David N. Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building in downtown Manhattan
Pictured: The newly named Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Municipal Building in Brooklyn
The amount of occupants in a space will not be allowed to exceed 50 percent of the maximum occupancy limit.
De Blasio appears to be signaling that it’s okay for businesses to bring back employees, less than two weeks after a Partnership for New York City survey found that employers expected only 45 percent of office employees to be back in person by September.
Only 10 percent of office employees were back in person at the beginning of this month.
Morgan Stanley, which is headquartered in midtown Manhattan, is among those looking to bring employees back to the office.
‘We plan a full return to the Midtown office when it is safe to do so, but we expect some flexibility for employees to work from home during some of the week,’ a spokesperson told the Commercial Observer.
‘Those arrangements will vary widely based on the employee and the job.’
One important aspect in the return to offices is the use of public transport, which has seen a decline in ridership during the pandemic.
The announcement comes as New York City continues to break through the coronavirus cases, which has seen a slight rise recently as fears of worrisome variants spread.
The first case of the Brazilian variant in the city was reported in a Brooklyn man with no travel history earlier this week.
In total, over 29 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19, with 542,991 deaths
Cases have hovered around the 60,000-mark most days, with almost 56,000 on March 22
The amount of daily deaths from COVID-19 nationwide appears to be trending down recently
The seven-day average of positive cases in New York City hit 7.10 percent on Wednesday – the most recent day the city released data – the highest rate since February 23.
In brighter news, the seven-day average of hospitalizations dropped to 168, the lowest mark of the winter.
There were 43 deaths on March 17, the third time in four days there were less than 45 deaths in the city.
As of March 22, over 3.4 million total vaccine doses have been administered in the city, with approximately 14 percent of adults in the city fully vaccinated and 28 percent partially vaccinated.
ABC7 reports that Gov. Cuomo expects the 300,000-400,000 dose distribution to double in the coming weeks, furthering the vaccination effort.
On Tuesday, the state opened up vaccine eligibility to anyone 50 years old or older.
Indoor fitness classes were recently allowed to resume in New York City, as were in-person classes for high school students.
In the United States, over 29.87 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, with 542,991 dying from the illness.
From March 21 to March 22, there was an uptick in both coronavirus cases and deaths nationwide.
The vaccination effort across the nation continues, however, with the CDC reporting 25.3 percent of the population received at least one dose, with 13.7 percent of the country fully vaccinated.