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Will San Francisco bounce again from COVID-19? Mayor London Breed envisions bustling, protected metropolis

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, was almost dizzy when she announced that the city and county would enter the Orange Plain, allowing many businesses and buildings to grow significantly.

And she hopes the city can move to the yellow tier in a couple of weeks.

Others fear, however, that the city has turned a corner and will never return to its former selves.

PATH FORWARD: Lessons Learned, SF’s 1 year journey into the COVID-19 pandemic

But Breed is emphatic.

“San Francisco will be back. This is one of the most important cities in the Bay Area,” said Breed as she walked down Stuart Street in the financial district.

“Here it happens, people will not want to stay home forever and they will want to return to the city, not just to work, but for our restaurants, for the parties, for the events, for the sports, entertainment, nightlife” said Breed.

Perhaps, but many of the city’s biggest employers are publicly pushing the idea of ​​working from home.

VIDEO: How will the downtown San Francisco financial district get employees back to work in high-rise offices?

However, Breed says her private conversations with CEOs tell a different story.

“Your employees mostly want to return to an office where they can be creative, an office where they are close to their co-workers, where they can have a drink and talk about new ideas after work. People They want to get together “They want human interaction. So I don’t think this work from home will take long. Yes, people will do it more than they used to,” Breed said.

“These companies thrive on innovation, they thrive on being with other people to create something. So you can’t do that on a zoom screen. You can’t do that on a computer screen,” said Breed.

RELATED: How will downtown San Francisco businesses on Union Square recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the meantime, local businesses serving downtown continue to suffer.

“I’m even thinking of my own dry cleaner, which I haven’t used that much this year. And other stores, my shoe repair shop, and all those things that used to be. Unfortunately, some of these stores are already closed, and there are companies that who are unlikely to return because of this pandemic. And what San Francisco specifically did without considering what the state and government did. But we invested nearly a billion dollars in helping our businesses, and we didn’t just delay fees that they had to pay for the city, we’ve eliminated the fees so we’re doing everything we can, but it’s still going to be a struggle for someone who wasn’t able to open up for someone who doesn’t have a business at all has, “said Breed.

And when will it come back?

“We’ll probably look at the end of this year, maybe sometime next year because it’s a process,” Breed said.

The tourism and convention business is one area where the process is particularly slow.

VIDEO: Experts Consider What It Takes To Bring Tourists Back To San Francisco

Believe it or not, California is the only state that still has guidelines for reopening conventions.

“It’s huge business. But we also have to make sure that people feel comfortable when they come here in large crowds. I mean, we haven’t even started our nightlife and entertainment industry where people still congregate.” can. So we want to. ” Proceed with caution. We want the conventions, we want the festivals, we want the events, but we have to see how the numbers go, “said Breed.

The price is that conventions can go to other states and other cities.

“I understand, Phil, but we can also lose lives. If we go forward we proceed with caution. We don’t want to do all this hard work and be this densest city, almost in the country and save lives and then suddenly backwards goes because we’re irresponsible for moving too fast, “said Breed.

Speaking of moving, a key component in bringing the city back is transit. Will people be ready to get involved with MUNI? Do you think they’ll get involved with BART in numbers? Because they were sketchy before? What if they don’t have to come to work? And they say no, I will spend two days at home or three days because they don’t like it, how do we bring them? How do we bring the transit back? Are you worried about this?

“I’m worried about this,” said Breed. “But the good news is that some of the economic support has helped fill a gap in our MTA budget, so we expect to gradually increase our Muni service as the schools reopen and the shops reopen to be reopened. “

RELATED: Here’s What Bay Area Transit Managers are doing to prepare for the return of workers in San Francisco

One element that keeps popping up is what can be done to improve the streets of San Francisco and make them safer, so that they can get mentally ill, you know, so that when they come back people will feel good, when you are here?

“Yes. And I think part of our crisis response team on the street is a new team that we set up to deal with mentally ill people who have problems wherever we see them. You saw him in the middle of town . ” Roads with a little challenge. This includes someone from the fire department, a medic, a clinician, and peer support. And now it’s a whole system. And we have responded to over 100 calls that would normally have taken the police and us to provide support services to half of those people. It was absolutely amazing. And we hope this program will help improve the experience of the people of San Francisco, “said Breed.

And then there is the question of when the cable cars – the symbol of the city – will return.

“The cable cars are coming back,” said Breed.

However, Muni says the cars may not return until the fall – something that caught the mayor off guard.

“The fall? Not up to the fall? You know what? I’ll see what I can do,” said Breed.

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