PURCHASE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Despite the troubling and ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams is urging corporations and financial institutions to end their reliance on telecommuting and bring their employees back to work.
He says the city’s economic health depends on it, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.READ MORE: Health Officials Tracking New 'Stealth' Omicron Variant Spreading In Europe, Detected In US
Adams said the city will beat COVID by, “bringing the swagger back,” keeping schools open, and getting workers back in offices.
He never uttered the name Bill de Blasio or said he was as dull as dirt, but that was his implication as Adams made it clear that his vibrant style is what’s missing in the city’s battle against COVID.
“When a mayor has swagger, the city has swagger. We’ve allowed people to beat us down so much that all we did was wallow in COVID,” Adams said. “We need a mayor of swagger. This is New York. It’s a privilege to live in New York and the leadership should have that swagger. That’s what’s been missing in this city.”
Watch: Marcia Kramer’s 6 p.m. Report On Adams Saying He Will Bring NYC’s ‘Swagger’ Back
Scores of New York businesses and Wall Street financial institutions may have delayed plans to bring their employees back to the office because of the record-setting surge in COVID infections, but Adams is urging them to change their minds.
“We must get open. You can’t run New York City from home. We must have everyone participate in our financial ecosystem to allow the low skilled, unskilled and people who are doing hourly employees to actually be part of our ecosystem. They can’t remotely do their job,” Adams said.
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The mayor pointed out that the people who work in big business here make it possible for other businesses to thrive, from hot dog carts and restaurants to dry clearers and beauty salons.
“I need my companies back open and operating. You can’t run a city like New York on 30% occupancy in buildings. We need to get back to business and open our city,” Adams said.READ MORE: New York Workers' Compensation Board Offers Resources For COVID Long Haulers
But officials at the Partnership for New York City told CBS2 that most companies here are making decisions on a week-to-week basis and have told their employees that forgoing telecommuting to return to their desks will be voluntary, at least through the end of January.
This as the mayor continued to talk abut the possibility of mandating that all municipal workers get booster shots.
Several agencies, from the NYPD to Emergency Medical Services, have been hard hit by higher-than-normal absences due to the pandemic. Cops have had to do double shifts and the city’s ambulance system has been so understaffed that the FDNY has told crews to discourage stable patients with flu-like systems from going to the hospital.
“We’re gonna look at if we have to mandate,” Adams said, “and if we do, we will do it, but right now we’re not there yet.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday the number of people testing positive for COVID was down to 51,698 on Sunday, because fewer people got tested over the holiday weekend. But the positivity rate rose to 23.17%, with an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
“Our numbers are misleading today. Those numbers are probably going to be much higher tomorrow. They didn’t go from nearly 90,000 to 51,000. That is simply a function of people not getting tested over the weekend,” Hochul said.
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She said she was especially concerned about the increase in people being admitted to hospitals.
“Those numbers are rather shocking,” Hochul said.
The governor has opened new testing sites at State University of New York campuses, including at Stony Brook on Long Island and SUNY Purchase in Westchester County.MORE NEWS: Mask-Less Children Join Parents At Rally On Long Island Protesting State Mask Mandate
In some parts of the state, the hospitalization rate is so dire that 21 hospitals have suspended nonessential elective surgery procedures.