ByKevin Sheekey

The Return to ‘Normal’

The latest news and updates from global business centers

New York City:

  • New York City reported 225 new cases on Sunday, above the seven day average of 180 daily cases. Cases are down 87% over the past two months.
  • New York state reported 380 new cases on Sunday, above the seven day average of 325 daily cases. Still, cases are down 91% over the past two months.
  • Synchrony Financial, bucking trends by U.S.-banking peers, has begun to reopen it’s Stamford headquarters for some employees but embraces hybrid work, telling workings no one can come back to the office five days per week.
  • Synchrony’s plan is an outlier in the financial-services industry though, with data compiled by CBRE showing nearly 33% of such companies saying they were already at normal occupancy in their offices, while another 64% said they would reach that level by the end of the year.


  • CEO of the British American Business association Duncan Edwards said if Jamie Dimon is skipping the UK (and visiting France and Germany) on his European business trip, UK politicians ‘need to think hard about their current travel policies.’
  • The government is ‘very likely’ to end pandemic restrictions on July 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday. The ending of restrictions will mean all social distancing and capacity rules across England will end, although limitations on international travel will be reviewed separately and are likely to remain longer.
  • Government ministers have previously said fully vaccinated residents will likely have more travel freedom towards the end of the summer, but few concrete details or plans have been released.
  • London reported 1,500 new cases Sunday, right in line with the seven day average of 1,500 daily cases. Case levels have risen 41% over the past two weeks.
  • The UK reported 14,600 new cases Sunday, right in line with the seven day average of 14,700 daily cases. Case levels have risen 52% over the past two weeks across the UK.

Zurich, Switzerland:

  • UBS plans to allow up to two-thirds of its staff hybrid work on a permanent basis. Some roles, such as traders and branch staff, will not be eligible for permanent mixing of remote and in-office work and will still have to be on site.
  • No date has been set for any return to office yet. Once the return begins, employees can start applying for hybrid working.
  • So far staff in Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Taiwan have begun such discussions on their hybrid work arrangements.

South Africa:

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa banned alcohol, outlawed public gatherings and closed schools for the next two weeks to curb a third surge in the country.
  • Travel to and from Gauteng, the nation’s commercial hub and regional area home to Johannesburg, will also be restricted over the next two weeks.


  • Dubai is moving full-speed ahead with in-person events on the back of fewer travel restrictions and one of the world’s most-connected airports, according to new reporting from Bloomberg News.
  • The Dubai Airshow is set to come back later this year and Anthony Scaramucci’s SALT hedge fund conference is slated to return to Abu Dhabi this year for its Middle East gathering.
  • The United Arab Emirates also has among the fastest vaccination programs, with 15 million doses administered in a population of 10 million.

Hong Kong:

  • Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the UK beginning July 1, after designating the country as ‘extremely high risk.’ The UK was previously on this list, with direct flights banned, from December through May during its last outbreak.
  • Restrictions on arriving travelers from most other parts of the world are easing, as the city shortens mandatory hotel quarantine to 7 days from 14 days for fully vaccinated arrivals from low risk countries.
  • The Hong Kong government attributed the raising of the alert level, and banning of flights, to the spread of the Delta variant in the UK.
  • Hong Kong reported no new local cases Monday.


  • Singapore reported 4 new local cases Monday, all of which were linked to prior infections.

Sydney, Australia:

  • Government officials have warned the public to prepare for more cases as Australia stares down the worst Covid outbreak it has seen in months, with new Delta variant cases springing up in the city and across the country.
  • 30 new local cases were reported in Sydney Monday with other new linked cases reported in Darwin and Perth – cities on opposite coasts of the country after citizens had traveled from Sydney.
  • The entire Sydney metropolitan area is under a lockdown through at least July 9 with citizens urged to work from home, mandatory mask-wearing and non-essential outings prohibited.

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