NY workers should be back in offices by Labor Day, Cuomo says

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FILE – In this June 15, 2020, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo removes a mask as he holds a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y. Cuomo’s office said it won’t reveal what it told the U.S. Justice Department about COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, partly because doing so would be an “invasion of personal privacy.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK — Employers should bring workers back to offices by Labor Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday amid an increase in COVID cases.

His call for a return to workplaces came the day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that fully vaccinated people should keep wearing masks indoors in places with substantial to high rates of transmission. Both New York City and Long Island have rates considered high enough to warrant indoor mask wearing.

“Everyone has to be back in the office,” Cuomo said. “I understand remote learning, I understand remote working, I understand trepidation, but the numbers are down, and we know how to do this safely. We need private sector companies to say to their employees, ‘I need you back in the office.'”

New York, like other states, has seen a rising number of coronavirus cases linked to the delta variant. New infections have climbed more than 400% since the end of June.

“The increase in the numbers is real: it’s not an overstatement, it’s not a fabrication,” Cuomo said.

But the governor said even with the increase, New York could safely bring employees back to offices and end remote working.

“Remote working for a short period of time is fine,” Cuomo said. “But that’s not how the entrepreneurial economy works. It’s the stimulation of having people in a room banging around ideas.”

Cuomo insisted having workers in office is essential to bringing back the economy.

“New York City is not going to come back on its own,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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