Today’s news follows word on Monday that Morgan Stanley plans what it described as a “full return” to the office for its workers. The financial institution, like most companies, plans to continue remote-work flexibility for many workers and has acknowledged its real estate footprint might shrink as a result.
“This issue is now on the front burner,” De Blasio said during his daily press briefing at City Hall. “Companies are now seeing it’s time to come back. It’s time to recognize that there’s progress happening.”
Covid-19 vaccines are continuing to roll out, which is enabling activity to resume in the city. By June, 5 million New Yorkers will have received at least one dose of the vaccine, De Blasio estimated, up from current levels of nearly 1.9 million. He said the summer will see an influx of both commerce and tourism as strict safety measures start to ease.
September, the traditional start to the school year, might be the real “inflection point,” De Blasio added. Fox Corp., one notable company with a significant New York presence, said last week it plans to have workers come back on September 7, the day after Labor Day.
Of the city’s 300,000 workers, De Blasio said about 80% already have been back in their normal work locations. Most are front-line workers running transit, sanitation, police and fire departments and other services. But the office workers’ return, he said, is aimed at not only improving internal communication and collaboration but also sending a signal to the private sector.
“We are ready to come back in so many ways,” the mayor said. The return of public school students to classrooms, which has been an uneven process, has “proven” the city has the wherewithal to safety welcome employees back.
“More and more of these kinds of announcements” about companies return-to-work plans are in the spring forecast, De Blasio said.
Even as the weather warms up and signs of life gradually return to the city, several signature elements are still months away from returning. Broadway remains shut down, but sports and music venues — shuttered for many months — have started to reopen with strict capacity limits.