NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tens of thousands of New York City workers went back to the office Monday after working from home for more than a year.
Some told CBS2’s John Dias it’s coming too soon and the city isn’t ready.READ MORE: NYC Nonprofits Team Up For Combination Food, COVID Vaccination Drive In Queens
“I woke up pretty early just to put makeup on for the first time in a year and a half,” Brittany Wolfe told Dias. “I’m nervous. I’ve been home because I have an immunocompromised family member.”
Approximately 80,000 city workers returned Monday, some honest about having to ease into the process again.
“Today I wore the flats and I said, ‘let me be comfortable today on my first day back,'” said Cheryl Guilford.
“I don’t want to rush it. So I think they’re just easing us back, so it’s not a full schedule,” Leslie Rodriguez added.
WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Discusses Return Of New York City Workers
The rush of crowds was something Eddie Atmar wanted for his Lower Manhattan street cart as he too returned for the first time in 14 months.
“This building, this place was always packed,” he said. “All of a sudden, it’s a ghost town.”READ MORE: COVID Restrictions In New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy Says Indoor Mask Mandate Will Remain In Place Despite New CDC Guidance
The return to the real world, or at least a new version of it, had others on edge.
Hundreds have been rallying to voice their concerns, predominantly over how safe city buildings are and wanting to push the return date back to September. Others are also worried about the commute on subways and trains.
“A crowded train — that’s my fear, because there are people still without the covers,” Mohammed Haque said.
The president of DC37, the city’s largest public employee union, said in a statement, “Progress has been made, but we’re not there yet. For starters, we are only aware of 34% of our workforce being vaccinated.” He also pointed to what he called inconsistency with staggered schedules and capacity from agency to agency.
“There’s difference in each office, that’s true, because some offices have more space, some offices have less space,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor has been defending his decision to have workers return, emphasizing the $200 million safety upgrades the city made to buildings. He’s adamant employees will be more productive in the office.
“People get a lot more done in person, there’s a lot more teamwork, there’s a lot more creativity,” he said.MORE NEWS: New CDC Guidance Leaves Some Ready To Toss Their Masks, Others More Hesitant
A date has still not been set for workers to return to the office full time.