The city has spent more than $200 million to make the Big Apple’s municipal office buildings compatible with coronavirus safety measures as 80,000 additional city workers are set to return, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
City Hall finally revealed the price tag for the project just days before the scheduled May 3 deadline for those tens of thousands, some of whom have become increasingly vocal about their concerns over the safety of de Blasio’s directive amid the pandemic — and pointed to the lack of details as one driver of those worries.
“New York City will spare no effort to ensure our public servants return to workplaces that are fully equipped to keep them safe,” said Hizzoner in a statement. “City workers have served their fellow New Yorkers tirelessly throughout this pandemic, and I look forward to welcoming them back with open arms.”
Officials said roughly 40 percent of the Big Apple’s desk-bound municipal workforce will be back in the office on any given day under the reopening plan and that the Mayor’s Office would bring back its staff at 50 percent.
The returning workers spent the pandemic teleworking, which has become the standard for many private employers during the pandemic.
City Hall hopes the return will help pump life back into Manhattan’s still largely empty business districts and encourage other companies to follow suit.
The move comes after months of pressure from developers and landlords who own major office buildings in the city, who have seen the value of their properties nose-dive during the pandemic over worries that working from home might become permanent.
The returning city staff are in addition to the city’s roughly 220,000 front-line workers and first responders — including police, firefighters, sanitation workers, road repair and grounds crews — who remained out in the field as the pandemic ravaged the five boroughs.
City Hall also revealed that more than half of New York’s 300,000-plus municipal workforce has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination — and that 146,000 city employees are now fully vaccinated.