New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, declared a state of emergency over the Omicron variant. She said in a statement, “While the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” and “We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic.”
Google announced last week that the search giant is indefinitely pushing back its January return-to-office plans due to growing concerns over the Omicron variant.
The stock market—which had been hitting record new highs—has been volatile lately. The monthly U.S. jobs report was anticipated to show nearly 600,000 new jobs created in November, while only over 200,000 were added. It’s too soon to blame Omicron on last month’s numbers, but there seems to be some concerns lingering, especially as inflation is running hot, supply chains disrupted and continual bickering in Washington, D.C.
Forbes previously reported that the new virus strain may cause companies to reconsider their return-to-the-office plans. If this strain spreads—like it’s doing in other countries—workers would likely protest over being required to commute back to an office. They’d worry about catching the new variant, in addition to concerns over Covid-19 and the Delta variant. Businesses will be concerned over legal liabilities if they force their staff to commute via bus, train and mass transit into the city, possibly endangering them.
New York City was the epicenter of covid during the early dark days of the outbreak with a heartbreaking amount of cases and casualties. It doesn’t seem likely that workers will come back in droves if there is a renewed health threat.
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According to the New York Post, due to the alarming increase in crime and violence in the City, Wall Street executives are still telling younger bankers to return to the office, but they should be vigilant and careful.
Bank of America suggested that bankers, brokers, traders and other personnel should keep a low profile. By avoiding dressing too fancy, wearing expensive jewelry and watches or prominently displaying the bank’s logo, they may go undetected and not catch the eye of a possible assailant.
As it gets dark in New York by around 4:00 pm, there is heightened concern for workers walking the streets and going into the train and bus stations to commute home. There have been horrendous acts of senseless violence perpetrated in the train stations, as well as the streets of the Big Apple.
New York City has a history of highs and lows. In 1975 the City was heading towards bankruptcy. When asked for financial assistance, President Gerald Ford declared that he would veto any bill calling for “a federal bail-out of New York City” and instead proposed legislation that would make it easier for the city to go into bankruptcy. Famously, The New York Daily News ran a headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead in 1975”
An excursion into Manhattan from one of the boroughs during the 1970s and early 1980s was referred to in an ominous, dark and menacing way—as going into “the City.” The streets were dirty and grimy, crime ran rampant and morale was at an all-time low. It was common to see burned-out shells of cars sitting on the shoulders of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Williamsburg and Crown Heights were at varying degrees of danger and nowhere near the cool, hip, expensive places they later became.
Around August, 2020, New York City seemed as if it was sliding back to the bad-old-days. James Altucher, a widely followed podcast host and best-selling author, wrote a provocative piece, entitled, “NYC IS DEAD FOREVER… HERE’S WHY.” In the post, Altucher said, “I love NYC. When I first moved to NYC, it was a dream come true. Every corner was like a theater production happening right in front of me. So much personality, so many stories.” He continued, “Now it’s completely dead.” Altucher claims the City is in a “death spiral” and won’t bounce back.
Quintessential New Yorker, Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, answered Altucher back in a New York Times op-ed piece. Seinfeld wrote, “I will never abandon New York City. Ever.” He proclaimed, “Energy, attitude and personality cannot be ‘remoted’ through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.”
Seinfeld went on to predict, “Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City. Feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again.”