“Thank you for calling the office of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Federal, state and local officials have advised that social distancing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the recorded greeting from a male staffer at the Democratic socialist’s office says.
“As such, staff in the congresswoman’s DC and district offices will shortly begin telecommuting. Meetings and other business will be conducted by phone or video. Thank you for your understanding.”
There is one problem: the message is inaccurate and outdated — at least nine months behind the times.
The US Centers for Disease Control last August dropped its social distance requirement, saying Americans no longer need to stay at least six feet away from each other, with the overwhelming majority of adults having some level of immunity to the virus — either from vaccinations, prior infections or both.
The guidance also no longer advised quarantining to those who’ve been exposed to Covid-19 but are not infected, regardless of vaccination status.
President Biden, back in September of last year said, “The pandemic is over.”
He approved a law that passed Congress that officially ended the COVID-19 emergency on May 11 — more than three years after former President Donald Trump declared it in March 2020 to temporarily expand the executive branch’s power to steer funds to battle the deadly virus.
Even the World Health Organization announced earlier this month that:COVID-19 no longer a global health emergency
“Life has been allowed to return to normal,” said WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO first declared COVID-19 a global emergency on Jan. 30, 2020.
The pandemic is so in the rear view mirror that the New York State Department of Health last week dropped its vaccination requirement for 1 million healthcare workers starting by this fall following a legal challenge.
“Due to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving vaccine recommendations, the New York State Department of Health has begun the process of repealing the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers at regulated healthcare facilities,” the department said in a statement.
One New Yorker who called Ocasio-Cortez’s federal office said she should get the Rip Van Winkle award.
“She’s been asleep for nine months,” the source said.
Other elected officials said the voice message was a head scratcher, and suggested she and her staff just never bothered to update it.
“Maybe her office just needs to update its voicemail but the pandemic is over and all federal employees need to return to the office. They don’t get paid to sit home,” said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).
“My office never closed to begin with,” added Malliotakis.
Ocasio-Cortez, who represents portions of The Bronx and Queens in New York’s 14th Congressional District, held a town hall meeting on Friday where constituents where hundreds of people were able to sit in close proximity, though one activist claimed he was barred entrance.
Ocasio-Cortez’s representatives had no immediate comment to a request from The Post Sunday, but she’s not the only city Democrat whose office is stuck in the past.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ $5 million office — which is supposed to assist New Yorkers with complaints — been largely missing in action since the pandemic struck in 2020. Williams allowed dozens of employees to continue working from home after lockdowns and social distancing rules were lifted.
And anyone who tried calling Williams’ main “constituents” line gets a recorded message that says, “Our office is currently working remotely.”
But a message now says, “Our office is currently working on a hybrid schedule.”
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