Expanding access to COVID-19 testing key to safely reopening economy
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the “New York Forward” COVID-safe offices partnership with major commercial real estate partners to expand access to COVID-19 testing for employers. As part of the initiative, 21 participating landlords have committed to provide space and facilitate access to testing services for tenants interested in conducting regular diagnostic testing of their employees.
"From the beginning of the pandemic, New York has always said that our recovery is not a choice between public health and the economy – it has to be both – and with this partnership we are demonstrating just how effectively we can accomplish our goals," Cuomo said. "This new partnership with major commercial real estate companies is the next step in reinvigorating our urban cores and commercial offices, supporting state and regional economies. Improved access to testing will further drive New York state's economic recovery by encouraging employers and employees to safely return to work using science and data to guide their decisions."
First announced as part of the governor's 2021 State of the State address, this unique partnership will expand testing, which is critical to controlling the spread of the virus, and provide workers with additional confidence in the safety of their workplaces as New York safely resumes and increases economic activity.
In New York City, eight landlords representing more than 100 million square feet of commercial office space have already committed to participate. In upstate New York, 13 landlords spanning the Capital Region, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas have affirmed their commitment to expanding access to testing for their tenants. Empire State Development continues to work with additional commercial property owners to expand the program.
ESD Acting Commissioner, and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "New York state remains focused on rebuilding the state's economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This new partnership with commercial real estate stakeholders will help more companies transition employees back into offices, while supporting the ecosystem of small businesses that rely on customers that work in local workplaces."
Participating local commercial property owners include:
New York has been at the forefront of developing testing capacity throughout the COVID-19 crisis, conducting more than 200,000 tests per day on average, and testing will be key to continuing to safely reopen the economy, allowing New Yorkers to build back better. The COVID-safe offices partnership builds on the recent launch of the “New York Forward” rapid test program, a unique public-private partnership to make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the state continues to reopen sectors of the economy.