New Jersey health officials have announced another 1,569 new confirmed COVID cases, the highest single day total in 3 and a half months, and hospitalizations continue to rise as well, now up to 696.

The surge, being fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, is causing some Garden State businesses to rethink plans to bring employees back to the office starting next month, according to Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

She said some company bosses are pushing back their worker return indefinitely, while others are sticking with their new hybrid models.

Siekerka said businesses are also struggling with the issue of whether or not to require vaccinations for their workers, even if they’re returning to the office part-time
“You have portions of the workforce that say I will not come back into the office until you can prove 100% vaccination. Then on the other side you have portions of the workforce that say don’t mandate a vaccine on me because I’ll walk out,” she said.

“Employers are being guided by their workplace environment: Do they have a vulnerable population? Who are they serving? Who comes in and out every day? What is their workforce made up of?” she said.

Her recommendation to companies is to get feedback and keep an open mind.

“Have a discussion with your workforce, understand where your workforce is on this, be guided by the holistic approach of what your work environment means and your culture,” she said

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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