Saturday, December 4

Delta variant of COVID-19 puts a stop to plans to reopen offices in NYC after ‘Labor Day’


The Delta variant has delayed many large office plans and New York City corporations to return to face-to-face work after Labor Day, while the City directed all of its employees from the various agencies to return full time as of September 13.

The expectation of a “return to normality” in business and executive environments that gravitate around large skyscrapers and “off” office complexes Due to the pandemic, since the spring of 2020, it does not look as immediate, as the plans of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

‘Partnership For New York City’ (PFNYC), an alliance that promotes the Big Apple as a global business center, concluded in a business survey released last week, that undoubtedly the increase in cases of the new variant of COVID-19 is putting a stop to reopening plans this month in the corporate sector.

This organization surveyed the main employers between August 9 and 20, 2021, to develop projections on how long the million office workers in Manhattan alone they will continue to carry out their tasks remotely.

According to the report, 23% of this county’s office workers have returned to the workplace. Employers expect the 41% of workers return to face-to-face work before September 30.

This is still significantly below estimates from a previous survey by this association in late May, when employers projected that the 62% of employees would return to their posts at the end of September.

It will not be until January 2022, that the 76% of office workers return to the great corporate towers of the city.

The recent survey also finds that the 81% of the workforce of the companies represented in the survey, based in New York City, are fully vaccinated.

“I think the employers have done everything they consider reasonable. Approximately a quarter of large corporations you have required vaccination if you are going to return to the office; otherwise, it will continue working remotely ”, he explained Kathryn Wylde president of the PFNYC.

While throughout the country the average of vaccinated adults is 57% and in the Big Apple it has already reached 75%, some reports affirm that the 90% of human capital of Wall Street corporate conglomerates has already been immunized.

To cite just one example of the business network that makes life in New York, the giant amazon one of the big employers in the Big Apple anticipated his “return” in early September, but has since postponed plans to reopen back to the office until January 2022.

It will not be until January 2022 that thousands of offices in the Big Apple will welcome their employees again. (Photo: F. Martínez)

It’s not good news

And in this universe of deserted offices with professional employees and top executives who can work indefinitely online, there are also others for whom, beyond pandemic fears, this is not good news.

Such is the case of thousands of workers in the cleaning and maintenance industry, as well as small restaurants in towns like the Financial District that depend on the movement of employees.

“In the restaurant where I work, the 90% of their clients were from a tower of executives, that they always had lunch, had dinner or came to have a drink. Now this is dead. We cooks do not have the option of working on the computer ”, said the Mexican Miguel Sacca, for whom the operational normalization of the corporate towers of the city is not indifferent, regardless of whether he works in a kitchen.

The experience of the Dominican Gladys Rosario, it’s the same.

“I worked cleaning an office every afternoon near Times Square for a financial firm. They closed that down and said they were finally going to open next year. That means I have to find what to do after the summer. Because they had told us that everything opened in the fall, “said the islander.

Like Miguel and Gladys, thousands of workers in the sector hospitality, cleaning and outsourced services to the “skyscrapers”, most of them Hispanic, will have to make other plans.

Meanwhile, the Colombian Miguel Valles, An accounting assistant for a Wall Street consulting company, says that his employer gave him the option of returning in person, to his cubicle located in Lower Manhattan, three days a week By the end of September.

“In my specific job there is a lot of density of paper documents, which we cannot process virtually. Each company does different things. We were all required to be vaccinated and we still have to wear masks. We are like 30 people in a flat, “said the professional.

Based on official figures, the jobs lost in New York City in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic were a total of 631,000, the biggest decline in a year since reliable statistics began to be compiled after the Second World War.

Indeed, everything indicates that the most affected were workers in the hospitality, tourism and services industry. A valve that will reopen when large corporations begin to revive their engines altogether.

“If executives don’t go to their offices because they work at home, then they don’t require a cleaner to do maintenance on the space at the end of the afternoon. And so we are thousands in the city, waiting for everything to reactivate, “he reasoned. Luis Socías a Salvadoran who works cleaning for a bank in Soho.

The offices of the financial and corporate axis of the city will open gradually, but with new rules. (Photo: F. Martínez)

80,000 municipal employees to your routine

Indeed, corporations that are prepared for their employees to “return” to corporate environments in person, imposed new protocols. In some, special units were created to monitor the pandemic issue, in some cases only masks will be required for those not vaccinated.

After 16 months after the onset of the pandemic, the idea of ​​the “return” of some high-density corporate and executive office environments, such as the Financial District and Midtown Manhattan, had been estimated for the days after ‘Labor Day’, which coincides with the immense challenge of the city of reopening of school buildings.

In an email sent last Wednesday to heads of agencies that was commented on by The New York Times, the working group to reopen the Mayor’s Office assured that about 80,000 office workers employed in city agencies “they would resume working hours prior to March 2020 in the office as of September 13”.

There is more of 300,000 City workers in general, but many of them are essential employees who have already been reporting to the job sites in the different agencies.

Three greats that reopen after ‘Labor Day’

  • Morgan Stanley has been bringing back its office workers all summer and expects to reach near pre-pandemic levels in September, according to the version of the medio digital Commercial Observer. It prohibits unvaccinated employees, customers and visitors from its offices in New York City. The financial company requires those who say they are vaccinated to test it before October 1.
  • Bank of America he expects most of his employees to return to the office after Labor Day. You are encouraging employees to get vaccinated and report to the bank if they do. Office employees must also wear masks, unless they are at their desks, reported the same financial outlet.
  • Employees of Citigroup in the New York area, come back at least two days a week as of September 13. The company also requires those workers to be vaccinated.

To return to the office: vaccinated or with masks

  • 58% of NYC businesses that disclosed their vaccination policy plan to require that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 (with the corresponding exemptions) according to a report from PFNYC.
  • 44% of corporations he plans to require that all guests in his offices be vaccinated.
  • 37% percent of companies reported not having a vaccination policy, although it is combined with requiring employers to require periodic testing for unvaccinated employees.
  • 63% say they will restrict unvaccinated employees attending in-person meetings.
  • 57% will limit attending customer meetings.
  • 43% will restrict business trips for unvaccinated employees.
  • 49% of employers will require all returning employees to wear masks while in the office.
  • 32% will require masks only for unvaccinated employees and 19% of employers will not have a mask mandate.


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