ByKevin Sheekey

The Return to ‘Normal’

The latest news and updates from global business centers

New York City:

  • On Thursday, New York City officials announced a change to protocols for when schools will close after positive cases are identified. Now, it will take 4 positive cases in a school in one week to trigger a 10-day closure for quarantine and cleaning, up from a previous rule that triggered a closure when just 2 cases were identified in a week.
  • New York City reported 4,100 new cases Thursday, higher than the seven day average of 3,500 daily cases. In early January, during the winter peak, the city reported a peak of 6,200 average daily cases.
  • New York state reported 8,700 new cases Thursday, a jump from previous days totals. The seven day average is now 7,300 average daily new cases. In early January, an average of 16,000 cases were reported daily in the state.
  • Barclays told junior analysts and associates that they should not be expected to work from 9pm Friday through 9am Sunday as banks rework policies to protect junior bankers mental health and prevent burnout. Barclays also said junior employees should take at least two five-day vacations per year where they fully disconnect from work.
  • The value of Manhattan office real estate has plummeted nearly 25% over the past year and contributed to an estimated $1 billion drop in property tax revenue as large firms, including JPMorgan and others, work through future working arrangements and the implications to their physical office spaces.

Hong Kong:

  • Hong Kong reported 2 new local cases on Friday. The winter wave, lasting from mid-November through February, had a peak of 131 new cases on January 21.
  • Hong Kong’s office market will bottom out in the second half of this year as economic activity picks up, the real estate consultancy Colliers International says. Office rents and prices might edge up in 2022 by 3% and 4% year-on-year, respectively, their report says.


  • A University College London study shows the UK will reach herd immunity on Monday, when nearly 75% of the country will have protection against the virus either through vaccination or previous infection.
  • More than 37.9 million doses of a vaccine have been administered so far, with an average of 320,000 more shots given each day.
  • London reported 290 new cases Thursday, right in live with the seven day average of 270 daily cases.
  • The UK reported 3,100 new cases Thursday, also in line with the seven day average of 2,900 daily cases.
  • Revolut, a banking technology company that is Europe’s most valuable startup, has told its 2,000 employees that they can work from anywhere in the world for up to two months a year. The company had previously told employees they would work from home as much as they wanted in the future.


  • Japan will reimpose virus curbs in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa starting from April 12 until May 11 in Tokyo and May 5 in Kyoto and Okinawa, aimed at reining in a rapid spread of the cases.
  • The rules will be similar to the emergency orders imposed earlier this year, with bars and restaurants instructed to close by 8pm each night and non-essential domestic travel discouraged.
  • Tokyo reported 545 new cases on Thursday, the third straight day of more than 500 cases reported in the city.
  • Japan reported 3,500 new cases Friday, above the seven day average of 2,800 daily cases as the upward trend in cases continues. The all-time peak in early January had 7,800 new cases reported in a day.


  • A mass vaccination clinic capable of administering tens of thousands of doses every week will soon open in Sydney. The center will be equipped to administer 30,000 vaccine doses a week to the general public.
  • A total of 996,000 doses have been administered so far across Australia, covering 2% of the population with at least one dose.