Kiss the elevator pitch goodbye — at least if it takes place in an elevator.

Change is coming to the daily vertical commute, as workers begin to return to tall office buildings in New York and other cities. The elevator ride, a previously unremarkable 90 or so seconds, has become a daunting puzzler in the calculus of how to bring people back to work safely after the coronavirus pandemic kept them home for months.

Employers and building managers are drafting strict rules for going up: severe limits on the number of riders (four seems to be the new magic number), designated standing spots to maximize social distance, mandatory masks, required forward-facing positions — and no talking.

Some companies are hiring “elevator consultants” to figure how best to get thousands of people to their desks, balancing risk of elevator density against a potential logjam as riders wait — at least six feet apart — for their turn.

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