Only 10% of Manhattan's 2 million office workers have returned to work - forcing many once-thriving Midtown businesses that depend on their foot traffic to shut up shop

 Only 10 percent of Manhattan's 2 millon office workers have returned to their offices - half of what experts were hoping for - and their absence is forcing small businesses that rely on their trade to close permanently. 

Unlike in other major cities like L.A. and Dallas, many New York City residents fled permanently in the spring and summer when the city saw its COVID-19 peak. The reasons for fleeing varied between high rent prices and rising crime. 

With no reason to come into the office anymore, many did not see the point in paying a premium when the city around them was dying. 

Now, despite some companies instructing staff to come back, there remains a gaping hole in the once teaming workforce.

It is forcing midtown businesses like clothes stores and cafes, which for years relied on the office workers to stay open, to close their doors permanently. 

Across the US, an average of 25 percent of office workers have returned to the office, according to data by real estate firm CBRE.

In Dallas, 40 percent have gone back, 32 percent have gone back in L.A. and 32 percent have also returned to work in New York City suburbs. The exception is Manhattan and it it is lower than what experts were hoping to see. 

Only ten percent of Manhattan's 2 million office workers have returned to their offices, fewer than in other major cities or across the country

Only ten percent of Manhattan's 2 million office workers have returned to their offices, fewer than in other major cities or across the country 

'We all expected [the re-occupancy rate] to be closer to 20% to 25%, which is what’s happening around the rest of the U.S.,'  Mary Ann Tighe, CBRE’s chief executive of the New York region, told The Wall Street Journal. 

One of the things keeping people out of the office in New York City is the reliance on public transit to get there.

Another is that until recently, there had been no plan to reopen schools. 

Now, more families are returning and businesses are offering incentives like free parking and childcare to their employees to try to get them back. 

Across various sectors, the approach to ordering staff back has varied. 

In finance, the majority of banks and firms have told staff they can continue to work from home. 


JPMorgan Chase, however, has told employees to come back to work unless they have kids or a healthcare concern. 

The bank's CEO, Jamie Dimon, has been among the most vocal business leaders in the fight to keep New York alive since the start of the pandemic. 

He has spoken enthusiastically of the city's future but is adamant that people need to be together in the workplace and not working from home to achieve former levels of success. 

But the large number of businesses who have told staff they can continue to work from home - including Facebook and Twitter - are causing a void that is driving another tier of small businesses into the ground.

An abandoned midtown street in March. The city has come somewhat back to life but midtown remains largely a ghost town

An abandoned midtown street in March. The city has come somewhat back to life but midtown remains largely a ghost town 

NYC's Hudson Yards is a ghost town as city recovers from pandemic
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Midtown restaurants are struggling to draw in crowds to take advantage of outdoor dining and many haven't lasted to see indoor kick off tomorrow

Midtown restaurants are struggling to draw in crowds to take advantage of outdoor dining and many haven't lasted to see indoor kick off tomorrow 

Many fled NYC, abandoning their homes, when they no longer had to go to work. One of the main reasons was the city dragged its heels in allowing hospitality to get back to work. Above, restaurant owners descended on Cuomo's office on Monday to protest the lack of action

Many fled NYC, abandoning their homes, when they no longer had to go to work. One of the main reasons was the city dragged its heels in allowing hospitality to get back to work. Above, restaurant owners descended on Cuomo's office on Monday to protest the lack of action 

Thousands of restaurants across New York City have already been forced closed due to a long ban on dining and slow-off-the-mark reopening plan.  

Those that have been able to reopen in midtown have struggled with the lack of crowds. 

Cafe Metro in midtown is closing at the end of this month because there is no one left to serve. 

Manager Edison Castillo told the Journal: 'Ninety percent of our revenue depends on office workers and another 10% depends on tourists. 

'We have lost both ways. I used to have 55 employees between both morning and night shifts. Right now we are down to six.'  

Another that is Kamakura Shirts. 

'Because we’re located on Madison Avenue, a lot of the workers around here are our customers,' manager Kakeru Kitatsuru said, revealing revenue has dropped by 70 percent. 

The infection rate in New York City on Monday was 3.25 percent.

The infection rate on a seven-day rolling average is now 1.38 percent. It is lower than it has been for months despite a handful of neighborhoods driving a surge. They are all in Brooklyn and Queens.  


Only 10% of Manhattan's 2 million office workers have returned to work - forcing many once-thriving Midtown businesses that depend on their foot traffic to shut up shop Only 10% of Manhattan's 2 million office workers have returned to work - forcing many once-thriving Midtown businesses that depend on their foot traffic to shut up shop Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:41 Rating: 5

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