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As COVID-19 cases dwindle and vaccination numbers climb, businesses are slowly but surely preparing to see their offices become a hive of activity again. But in the usually bustling downtown core of Toronto, just how many workers will be returning to the office towers — and how best to keep them safe — is still an open question. According to a new study from the Toronto Region Board of Trade looking at five different business districts across the Greater Toronto Area, the “Metropolitan Core” has taken the hardest economic hit from COVID, and faces some of the toughest challenges in getting back to a new normal. Luring workers back to their office towers after a year of working from home, and bringing back tourists and business travellers, are vital to ensuring a strong rebound, according to the report’s author. “People need to be able to feel safe,” said Marcy Burchfield, vice-president of the board’s Economic Blueprint Institute, who wrote the report, entitled “From Crisis to Opportunity,” to be released Wednesday. Roughly 550,000 workers per day would come into the downtown core per day pre-COVID, Burchfield said.

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