New York City Workers Aim To Postpone May 3 Office Return

80,000 municipal workers are scheduled to return to their offices Monday. While Mayor de Blasio believes being in the workplace will lead to more productivity, others say it’s still too soon. CBS2's Christina Fan reports.

Video Transcript

CINDY HSU: On the road to reopening and tens of thousands of city workers are expected to return to work on Monday. But a large number of those workers say it is too soon, citing health concerns. CBS2's Christina Fan joins us live from outside City Hall, where a rally will be held later today. Good morning, Christina.

CHRISTINA FAN: Good morning, Cindy. Those employees say the city hasn't done enough health and safety-wise to prepare for their return to the office on Monday. Hundreds will be demonstrating in front of City Hall at noon demanding that their return date be postponed until September.

CHRISTINA FAN: Signs of life are returning across New York City, and starting next week, city workers will too. Mayor de Blasio says welcoming them back is a major step towards recovery.

BILL DE BLASIO: 180,000 city employees have been vaccinated. Very important to note that 80% of the workforce is right now at their job and has been through the height of the pandemic. We've got to do the work to bring the city back.

CHRISTINA FAN: 80,000 municipal workers will be returning to work Monday. While the mayor believes being in the workplace will lead to more productivity--

JEREMIAH CEDENO: It's not safe. It's not equitable. It's not healthy.

CHRISTINA FAN: Jeremiah Cedeño with City Workers for Justice says the plan is too rushed. His organization has been pushing back on the decision since it was announced in January.

JEREMIAH CEDENO: These buildings are old. These buildings don't have already good ventilation systems, so you're sending people back into these very bad, bad working environments.

CHRISTINA FAN: But the city says it spent over $200 million to prepare office buildings for workers' return.

BILL DE BLASIO: Folks are going to be in, for part of the time in most settings. Not all the time, and there's going to be distancing on top of masks, on top of cleaning, on top of ventilation. It will be a safe environment.

CHRISTINA FAN: The return to City Hall comes as the governor announced other major reopening news. Starting May 7, indoor dining in the city can expand to 75% capacity. Hair salons, barbershops, and other personal care services will also follow suit. Then on May 15, city gyms and fitness centers can increase to 50% capacity.

CHRISTINA FAN: And the mayor hopes those in the private sector will see the return of employees as a strong indicator that traffic will be picking up again near offices, and so this will help boost the local economy. He also says that this falls in line with his goal to fully reopen the city in July. We're live from Lower Manhattan, Christina Fan, CBS2 News.

CINDY HSU: Christina, thank you.