80,000 NYC municipal employees to return to office starting May 3

About 80,000 New York City municipal employees who have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic will return to their offices starting May 3, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

"We’re going to make it safe, but we need our city workers back in their offices where they can do the most to help their fellow New Yorkers, and it’s also going to send a powerful message about this city moving forward," the Democratic mayor said, promising strict safety measures.

The workforce of about 300,000 city employees includes many like police officers and firefighters who can't work from home. A spokesperson for de Blasio said about 80,000 municipal office workers will begin a staggered process of returning to their work sites on May 3.

"It's another important step on the way to a full recovery for New York City. I can feel that. I see more and more evidence every day," said de Blasio.

Asked if the return of city workers to offices could set an example for private businesses, de Blasio said each company will approach the question of whether employees need to be in their offices full-time or part-time differently.

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"Are folks ready to start bringing back their workers in whatever way makes sense as quickly as possible?" he added. "I’d certainly want to encourage that."