Masks are back at Citigroup, and Bank of America workers still have to keep their distance in conference rooms. At JPMorgan, investment bankers and traders can no longer blow off steam at the nearby Monkey Bar, the tony restaurant in midtown Manhattan that closed during the pandemic. Wall Street is back, just not the way industry executives had hoped.

For months, top bankers had been pointing to the week after Monday's U.S. Labor Day holiday as a marker for corporate America's long-awaited return to normal. But the delta variant up-ended that plan, and many large companies have delayed their comeback entirely.

Wall Street, on the other hand, is still limping ahead—largely vaccinated and mostly masked. Banking executives aren't giving up on the idea of a widespread return to the office, even as their peers at other major corporations—from Apple Inc. to Inc. to Ford Motor Co.—have said workers don't have to come back until next year, and even then it won't be every day.

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