New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and building landlords are promoting a plan to get workers back into commercial offices, The Real Deal reported in January. Cuomo, during his second installment of the 2021 State of the State address, said rapid COVID-19 testing would be used in state-designated orange zones to open office buildings, along with restaurants and theaters. In orange zones, when COVID-19 has a 10-day rate of 4% infections and hospitals have 85% of their beds in use, limited outdoor dining and reduced-capacity operation at non-essential businesses are allowed. The plan involves opening hundreds of "pop-up" rapid testing sites where people can be quickly tested to engage in social activity or visit businesses. “Office buildings are the engines of our economy,” said Cuomo. “Bringing workers back safely will boost ridership on our mass transit, bring customers back to restaurants and stores and return life to our streets.”
Prominent commercial landlords, including RXR Realty, Related Cos. and Rudin Management, have been pushing for workers to return to offices, which have been largely vacant since April 2020. Some companies have extended their deadlines for bringing workers back to the office, but some are allowing employees to work from home indefinitely.