New York Landlords Mull Mask Requirements After New CDC Guidance

Masks will remain a feature of public spaces for four New York City landlords.


Don’t throw out your mask just yet! New York City’s largest commercial landlords are deciding whether or not to keep mask requirements, and for at least four of them, mask rules will remain.

Columbia Property Trust, RXR Realty, Silverstein Properties and the Durst Organization buildings will continue to require a mask in common areas such as elevators and lobbies, regardless of whether or not a person has been vaccinated, Crain’s New York first reported. 

SEE ALSO: US Life Sciences Investment Dips But Main Hubs Dodge Headwinds: Report

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state would follow last week’s federal health guidelines — which say vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask or socially distance indoors — businesses and landlords can choose their own precautions. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement last Thursday has been criticized for lifting mask requirements too early. Only six weeks ago, CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, warned the country of “impending doom” as daily coronavirus cases began to rise in the United States, CNBC reported. Health experts and union leaders have questioned how a business would know if a person was vaccinated or not. 

One landlord’s decision can have a big impact on residents and workers in the city. Columbia Property Trust owns 2.8 million square feet in New York City made up of mostly office buildings and some retail, according to its website. Their 315 Park Avenue South building is home to Amazon and streaming company Twitch

RXR Realty has a $20 billion portfolio of property, including office buildings, retail assets and multifamily properties encompassing 22 million square feet. The Durst Organization’s portfolio includes some of the most prominent pieces of office space in New York, like 1 World Trade Center and One Bryant Park.

Silverstein — which owns, develops or manages more than 40 million square feet of commercial space — is requiring its employees, tenants and visitors to wear masks in public areas including lobbies and elevators. But Silverstein’s own vaccinated employees can walk around our own offices without masks.

SL Green Realty Corp. did not disclose their plans for mask requirements in public spaces of the large landlord’s buildings, though Chief Operating Officer Edward Piccinich said the company was looking for its tenants to return to the office. 

“The Governor’s announcement is an important milestone for our recovery,” Piccinich said in a statement. “SL Green has been back in the office for nearly a year, and we are more than prepared to welcome back the remainder of our tenants still working remotely. With safety and health a top priority, the city and the office sector are ready for the return of our workers.”

Several other major landlords in New York City have not disclosed their mask rules. Fisher Brothers, which owns around 5.5 million square feet of Class A office space, retail and residential development, declined to comment.

Rudin Management declined to comment. Related Companies, Boston Properties, Sage Realty and Vornado Realty Trust did not respond to requests for comment.

Update: The story has been updated to include that Fisher Brothers owns around 5.5 million square feet of office space, not 9 million.