Why New York business leaders need to push hard to reopen fast

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Last week, investor and author David Bahnsen, managing partner of the Bahnsen Group, sent a letter to 26 prominent business leaders — including JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and Mike Bloomberg — urging them to resist the political and corporate push for a Big Apple under semi-permanent lockdown. The following is an excerpt:

Esteemed Business Leaders —

I write to you today as one who loves New York City, as one who loves the United States of America, to plead with you to accelerate the return date of your New York office personnel. Before I even type the next sentence, I will immediately dispel the obvious and instinctive reply I fully expect: I understand that safety of your employees is your top concern, and there is no part of this letter remotely suggesting anything irresponsible, unsafe or uninformed by appropriate medical considerations.

I write, rather, taking for granted that in your capacity as a business leader and public figure, you would not endanger your valued employees, and that your organization’s vast resources are being deployed toward ensuring effective risk mitigation, allowing for a safe and hygienic environment for your employees and vendors.

And yet beyond that foundational concern, I am growing ­increasingly concerned by a consensus favoring perpetual delays and a cavalier spirit toward returning personnel to the office.

I understand how the COVID-19 moment has allowed many companies, mine included, to see in real-life simulation how remote capabilities can work, and I further understand that for many of your companies, those results may have been surprisingly satisfactory.

I am neither qualified to nor interested in commenting on the specific pragmatic ramifications of your company’s work operations. My agenda is not your company’s working efficiencies, something you are exponentially more suited to understand than I or anyone else is.

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