It took more than two years for companies to begin summoning their employees out of their pajamas and back into the office, and now it looks like landlords have something to celebrate.
Since the March 2020 COVID-19 shutdown, New York City’s recovery reached a milestone for the first time, as office occupancy topped 40% in the past week, according to Kastle Back to Work Barometer data reported by The City.
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Specifically, office attendance jumped nearly 5% from the previous week. The numbers come as COVID cases in the city have been falling. The latest data from the city health department shows an 8.06% positivity rate around town in a decreasing trend.
“This is good news for our city’s recovery as the presence of office workers in the central business district is critical for retail, restaurants and other storefront businesses hit hard by the pandemic,” James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, told The Post in a statement. “As the public health situation continues to improve, policymakers must continue to focus on smart solutions that will bring new public and private sector investment into our urban centers to make them more resilient, equitable and vibrant.”
In comparison, around this time last year, office occupancy was as low as 10.6% as many locals — specifically those who left the five boroughs to work remotely — remained out of the city. But since then, certain companies have implemented mandatory return-to-office policies. One of them is Citicorp, which upped its required office days from two per week to three beginning in June.
Still, while a big jump from last year, 40% is not 100%, and is still costing the city more than $600 million in annual property tax revenue, a recent report from City Comptroller Brad Lander estimated.
Commuting remains one of the biggest issues surrounding a full-time comeback, with rising crime rates on subways and trains.
In the past year alone, subway assaults of jumped over 50%, despite heightened security by the NYPD.