Office landlords offer no-wait Covid tests to lure workers back

Only 14% of employees have returned to New York area offices

New York /
Feb.February 25, 2021 09:30 AM
Photo illustration of RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler (Getty, iStock)

Photo illustration of RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler (Getty, iStock)

New York area offices have remained almost entirely empty despite attempts by companies and landlords to get workers back to their desks. But a few landlords have added a new lure: on-site Covid tests.

RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler calls the new amenity “the missing piece of the puzzle” to bring workers back to the office. “You think to yourself, as a real estate owner and operator, we need to provide testing to help our tenants,” he told Bloomberg News.

RXR introduced on-site testing facilities in December and has run about 10,000 tests. Related Companies is offering testing at its buildings in partnership with Mount Sinai Health System.

But the jury’s still out on whether the tests will draw workers back to their desks. Only about 14 percent of employees were in their New York area offices as of Feb. 17, according to the report.

As many companies have delayed returning to the office until fall or later, some analysts doubt on-site testing will do much to change workers’ attitudes.

“It seems unlikely to broadly move the needle,” analyst Danny Ismail of Green Street told Bloomberg. “At the end of the day, people need to feel safe, and that’ll come about via lower infection rates and higher vaccination rates.”

The rate of positive Covid tests in New York dipped below 3 percent this week for the first time in months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

[Bloomberg News] — Erin Hudson


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