San Francisco hotels reopen for tourists

Miles Hurley Miles Hurley Uploaded 15 September 2020

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US: Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco hotels may once again welcome leisure travellers.

The city had previously only allowed essential workers or essential travellers to occupy the city’s hospitality properties.

San Francisco had initially spent over $100 million renting hotel rooms for aide workers and the city’s significant homeless population. Occupancy rates fell below five per cent during these times.

Now, however, the city has committed to opening a variety of leisure businesses. Gyms, hair salons, tattoo shops and hotels have all been allowed to operate with restrictions on capacity and social distancing guidelines.

Breed said last Thursday: “I’m so glad we can move forward earlier than expected to reopen more businesses that have been closed since March. These businesses have been struggling, and starting Monday, they’ll finally be able to serve customers again, with the necessary safety precautions and modifications in place.”

Hotels have begun implementing cleaning regimens and additional measures in preparation for this reopening. This includes removing amenities like magazines and slippers, fully sanitising rooms, and reducing the amount of potential interaction between guests and staffs.

Many hoteliers are concerned that heightened cleaning requirements may hinder recovery. The city passed the Healthy Building Ordinance this July, mandating some of the strictest sanitation procedures, leading the city’s Hotel Council to file a lawsuit against the city.

Kevin Carroll, president and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco told NBC Bay Area: "This harmful ordinance left us no option but to defend the safety and well-being of our 25,000 San Francisco employees and our valued hotel guests. This dangerous ordinance contradicts the advice of public health experts and would cause enormous economic hardship to our already struggling hotels trying to keep employees on the payroll."

San Francisco’s tourism is expected to have a long recovery period, with estimates claiming full recovery may take until 2025. Hoteliers are also worried the California wildfires threatening the state may drive potential tourists away.

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