NYC asks businesses to stagger work hours to reduce commuting crowds

Mayor De Blasio has already asked employers to let employees telecommute

New York City is asking private businesses to stagger work hours to help "reduce overcrowding" on the city's public transit as the state's number of coronavirus cases climbs.

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City government wants employers to change employee hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. The city's request comes as coronavirus enters the community spread stage in the United States, meaning patients who never visited an outbreak area like Wuhan, China, are at risk.

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New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has already asked employers to let employees telecommute if possible in order to contain the virus. New York is one of the states hit hardest by the virus, with more than 140 cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was caught "flat-footed" when responding to the coronavirus outbreak on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Men wear face masks as they ride on the subway on March 8, 2020, in New York City. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

"We knew this was coming," Cuomo said. "We were watching China. You'd have to be in denial if you didn't think what was happening in China was going to happen here. The CDC was not ready when it started."

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Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Many of the cases are concentrated in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City.

Many big companies have been public with their reactions to the spread of coronavirus. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, said that both companies have strongly suggested all employees worldwide work from home.

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Businesses that aren't planning for coronavirus contingencies are already behind the curve, David Lewis, CEO of human resources consulting firm OperationsINC, told FOX Business.

In this Monday, March 2, 2020, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and Mayor Bill de Blasio discuss the state and city's preparedness for the spread of the coronavirus, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

When it comes to work-from-home, businesses may not be prepared, Lewis said. Managers will need to "establish realistic expectations" because employees at home may also be caring for kids. Tech could be an issue too — a company's servers may be ready for a few remote workers but not an entire workforce going remote, Lewis said.

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