NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are signs of hope on the road to reopening. A new survey finds more office workers than originally thought are expected to be back in the city this fall.
Lunchtime on Park Avenue in Midtown actually looked lively on Tuesday. Men and women in business attire walked the streets, many working in office buildings. Some who spoke to CBS2’s Andrea Grymes said they were thrilled to be back in the Big Apple.READ MORE: Understaffing At Nursing Homes Leaves Residents Vulnerable Amid Pandemic, Now Vaccine Mandate Could Make It Worse
“I love it! It’s great to get out of the house,” Midtown office worker Harry Grand said.
It’s not nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, but is slowly moving in the right direction, said Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City.
“Now, at least we have a forward momentum that we have not had for the past 15 months,” Wylde said.
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The nonprofit, which represents business leaders and employers, just released results from its latest “Return to Office Survey.”
It found 62% of workers will be back at their desks in September — most three days a week. That’s a jump from its March survey, when only 45% of employees were expected.
Wylde credits the COVID-19 vaccine for the higher projection.READ MORE: NYC Teacher, Principal Unions Warn Of School Staffing Shortages When Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect; De Blasio Says Substitutes Standing By
“Getting people back is good for business, number one. Two, it’s essential for small business and the revitalization of neighborhoods,” Wylde said.
Midtown food truck Uncle Gussy’s sees that ripple effect first hand, and is grateful for any increase in customers.
When asked if business is picking up, a worker said, “Yes, little by little.”
Worker Gabe Marans said he is grateful for his new normal — both home and office work.
“The office is for collaboration. It’s for people to be together, to be excited, to tap into that culture. I’m really happy to be back, and I’m happy to be back part of the time, not all of the time,” Marans said.
For office workers like Diane Johnson, working from home could never quite compare.
“It’s really amazing. There’s lines now at Sweet Green. There’s lines at Chopt. There’s lines everyplace,” Johnson said.
The survey found while many employees are still concerned about COVID-19, there’s an uptick in concern about public safety with returning to the office, especially in the subways.MORE NEWS: CDC Recommending Pfizer Booster Shots For Seniors, Adults With Underlying Medical Conditions, Adults At Greater Risk Of Exposure At Work
The Partnership for New York City says prior to the pandemic Manhattan had 1 million office workers. Now, only 12% of them have returned.