Some of the leading lights of New York City's business community are offering their help to get the Big Apple through the dark tunnel that is COVID-19. Bloomberg says that top brass from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Citigroup (NYSE: C) were among "a few dozen companies" on a recent call with Larry Schwartz, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is now leading the Empire State's vaccination rollout.
"Some of the firms said they can provide distribution and logistics and could help persuade the Biden administration to boost New York's vaccine allocation," Bloomberg says of the call.
A cure for empty space, emptying wallets
Like everywhere else, New York is struggling with supply and distribution of the vaccines, and getting as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as possible is seen as critical to reviving moribund Manhattan office space.
Bloomberg says that as of Jan. 13, data from Kastle Systems, which manages security access for commercial real estate owners, indicated an office occupancy rate of about 13% in the New York City area. Only San Francisco is faring worse among major U.S. cities.
All those no-shows -- and a lack of tourism -- are devastating Manhattan's commercial corridors, forcing retailers and restaurants to shut down by the thousands. It's not expected to get better until later this year, if vaccines can find their way from production facilities into arms.
Getting people comfortable, confident, back to work is imperative
It's not just financial barons of Wall Street offering their help. One of the city's leading real estate owners, William Rudin of Rudin Management, told CNBC that empty retail space could be converted into vaccination sites, something that's already happening across the river in New Jersey.
"We need to get the vaccine out more ubiquitously to every part of the city and get people confident and comfortable, to get them back into the city and back to work," Rudin told Bloomberg in another article about the Wall Street call.
The call reported by Bloomberg also included offers of help with logistics.
"The tone of the call veered from offers of what they could do to help -- logistics, distribution, real estate -- as well as expressing bewilderment over the limited amount of information so far on what's causing the hiccups," Bloomberg reports.
Plus, not helping things: an exodus cited today in The New York Times titled "9 Top N.Y. Health Officials Have Quit as Cuomo Scorns Expertise."
The Millionacres bottom line
Perhaps the city mice could take some clues from their country cousins.
NBC News says the states with the highest rate of distribution of their available vaccines as of the week of Jan. 21 were West Virginia and North Dakota.
And in South Carolina, a local mayor turned to a logical source for logistics prowess when there was a crunch at a mass vaccination site, the manager of a Chick-fil-A across the street. (In these parts, Chick-fil-A is legendary for its ability to move a lot of people and a lot of product in dazzlingly efficient fashion.)
"When you need help, call the pros," said Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie.
Experts of all kinds, indeed, are going to be needed to get us through this.