NEW YORK - In the midst of the growing outbreak of the new coronavirus, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling on private companies to let their employees either work from home or work a flexible schedule to reduce crowding on mass transit during rush hour.
"We want our businesses to continue to keep going," de Blasio said on Monday. "So for businesses that can allow for more employees to telecommute, we want you to do that."
The mayor said that "people packed like sardines" on subways make the transmission of the coronavirus from one person to another easier.
"Staggering hours is very helpful," de Blasio also said. "So we're looking for either or both of those accommodations to the maximum extent they can."
The mayor acknowledged that many businesses won't be able to operate with employees at home but he said that any companies that can be flexible would be helpful.
Monday evening, IBM told all of its employees who live or work in either New York City or Westchester County to work from home if their job permits "until further notice," according to a company spokesperson.
"The health and safety of IBMers, partners and clients is our most important priority, and we believe asking IBMers to work from home is a prudent step that can also mitigate risk and help the community as it responds to this outbreak," Edward Barbini, a VP for corporate communications, wrote in an email to FOX 5 NY.