ByKevin Sheekey

The Return to ‘Normal’

The latest news and updates from global business centers

New York City:

  • In a note to staff Wednesday, Jamie Dimon told JPMorgan employees they would have until the end of the month to complete a survey on their vaccination status and failure to do so would result in managers contacting them until they answer.
  • The JPMorgan leaders said that while vaccination is currently not mandatory (in order to return to the office), “in the future, we may mandate that all employees be vaccinated.”
  • JPMorgan’s note to employees on vaccinations comes days after Morgan Stanley told workers they would be barred from New York City-area offices if they are not vaccinated.
  • New York City reported 110 new cases on Wednesday, below the seven day average of 180 daily cases. Cases are down 90% over the past two months.
  • New York state reported 260 new cases on Wednesday, below the seven day average of 330 daily cases. Cases are down 92% over the past two months.


  • Citigroup UK chief James Bardisk said Thursday in an interview that “business works best from being together” as the bank plans for staff to work from the office at least three days per week from July 19.
  • Bardick said Citi in the UK would not require vaccination, but anyone entering the office had to “demonstrate they they have a negative test result.”
  • While Goldman Sachs has mandated U.S. employees share their vaccination status (although full vaccination is not yet mandatory), disclosure will be voluntary for UK employees.
  • London reported 1,600 new cases Wednesday, a big jump from previous days and above the seven day average of 1,170 daily cases. This is the highest daily case count since February 7. Case levels have risen 36% over the past two weeks.
  • The UK reported 16,000 new cases Wednesday, higher than the seven day average of 11,100 daily cases. Case levels have risen 47% over the past two weeks across the UK.

Hong Kong:

  • Hong Kong plans to raise the Covid risk level of the U.K. to “very high” from “high”, indicating arriving travelers into the city from the UK will not be able to qualify to have their quarantine reduced even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Earlier this week Hong Kong announced fully vaccinated residents, and soon non-residents, would have their quarantine reduced to 7 days from 14 days but only if coming from countries not at “very high” risk.
  • Hong Kong reported one new local case Thursday, which was not traced to any other infections.


  • Singapore’s government said Thursday that it plans to give a first Covid-19 vaccine shot to most of its population by the end of July.
  • More than 47.3% of the population of Singapore has had at least one dose of a vaccine so far, and 34.9% are fully vaccinated. 4.7 million doses have been administered to date.
  • Government ministers said Thursday that their priority in the next few months will be prepare the population to deal with Covid as part of their daily lives with people being able to work, travel and shop without quarantines and lockdowns, even with the virus in their midst. Read the entire plan by the ministers here.
  • Singapore reported 14 new local cases Thursday, 2 of which were not linked to prior infections.

Sydney, Australia:

  • Workers in Sydney are now being asked to work from home as the city enters a sort of ‘stay-at-home’ order while authorities work to control an outbreak caused by the Delta variant. However, authorities are resisting a full lockdown in a city that previously largely eradicated the virus.
  • Mandatory mask-wearing is also back for Sydney residents and gatherings limited to just 5 people while more than 1 million people are currently barred from leaving the city in an effort to control the outbreak.
  • The cluster of new cases has grown to at least 49 in total, including a state lawmaker from New South Wales (the state home to Sydney).
  • Sydney, and Australia as a whole, had largely eradicated the virus and returned to having no social distancing requirements in recent weeks. But because of the country’s ‘Covid-zero’ strategy, even small flareups relative to international outbreaks, are treated with extreme seriousness and crackdowns on restrictions.