Cuomo pushes private New York employers to bring workers back into the office by Labor Day even as he warns about the Delta variant

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference in June. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
  • NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wanted private employers to bring workers back to offices by Labor Day.
  • “Everyone has to be back in the office,” he said on Wednesday.
  • His comments come amid a nationwide rise in COVID-19 cases, fueled by unvaccinated people and the more contagious Delta variant.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing private employers in the state of New York to bring employees back to work in-person by Labor Day.

“Everyone has to be back in the office,” Cuomo said at a conference with a group of business leaders on Wednesday. “We can do it safely, we can do it smartly.”

Moments before, Cuomo had warned about the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 across the US among unvaccinated people, including in the state of New York.

“The delta variant is real,” Cuomo said, noting that the state reported 2,203 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, compared to just 275 cases one month ago.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 57% of people in New York state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while about 62% have received at least one vaccine dose.

While breakthrough cases – where fully-vaccinated people test positive for COVID-19 – can occur, the vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization.

Cuomo, a Democrat, also announced that all state workers will need to either get vaccinated or be tested on a weekly basis.

The spread of the Delta variant has created new concerns as cases of the disease rise after falling amid increased vaccinations earlier this year. The CDC on Tuesday introduced new guidance for masking, recommending that fully-vaccinated individuals resume wearing face masks indoors in areas with a high spread of the disease. It previously said vaccinated people could go unmasked in most settings.

Cuomo on Wednesday said state officials were considering the new CDC guidance and urged people to wear masks in public, although he did not announce a new masking requirement. He said local leaders should “seriously consider” the CDC guidance.