Batten down the hatches — New York City is lurching closer to a lockdown.
With the largest white-collar workforce of any US city, hundreds of thousands of New York’s mobile tech-equipped workers can be dispatched rapidly to work remotely from home and alternative “safe” sites — as others tough it out in quarantine to fight the coronavirus, according to one expert.
This huge multitude of New York City workers — from Wall Street to Silicon Alley — with laptops and smartphones at the ready, could soon be working from home for extended periods, said Marc Cenedella, founder and chief executive of job-search site The Ladders.
“It’s a potentially very serious situation,” he added. “New York is particularly vulnerable. Many people come in and out of New York for business and tourism — and are at risk of a lockdown, or some type of curfew or quarantine because of the coronavirus.”
This unparalleled human exodus from the ranks of some 4 million New York workers to the suburbs and other defensive locations won’t be the only mass flight. Worst-case scenarios nationwide see as many as 100 million Americans — the aggregate white-collar population — working remotely for health reasons, Cenedella said.
As the number of reported deaths from coronavirus surpasses 3,400 worldwide — and more cases are identified in New York — the city’s businesses are moving to limit potential exposure to employees. International business travel is getting squeezed as a slate of industry conferences have been canceled, and some on Wall Street are ready to turn the switch on at off-site trading floors in the suburbs.
Last weekend, employees at SquareFoot, an online real estate company in New York, took their laptops home in the event of a coronavirus escalation. As workers returned to the office this week, management imposed a travel ban for all employees. In a companywide email seen by The Post, Eugenie Fanning, VP of people, wrote: “If you have traveled to, or are traveling to, any Warning Level 2 or 3 countries as determined by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control], upon your return you will have to work from home for two weeks. Current countries include: China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Japan.”