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Downtown San Francisco sees 20% drop in foot traffic since omicron as most businesses adopt hybrid work model

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Downtown San Francisco sees 20% drop in foot traffic since omicron as most businesses adopt hybrid work model

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — There’s been an eerie silence in San Francisco’s financial district over the past month since the highly contagious variant of omicron hit the Bay Area.

“Omicron has definitely set us back here,” said Rodney Fond, president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Fong says there has been a 20% drop in foot traffic downtown since the first case of omicron was detected in the city in early December.

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“We’ve seen this decline in the downtown corridor, and a lot of it is coming from offices and tourism taking a temporary downtime,” he said.

The temporary dead time now affects the roads.

Data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission shows there has been a drop of about 12-13% in Bay Bridge traffic entering the city over the past month.

“We are seeing a decline, but January is generally a slower month overall,” said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the MTC. “It’s still clearly a drop…probably due to the omicron.”

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Goodwin says the current traffic volume on the Bay Bridge is comparable to last year at the height of our delta surge.

Michelle Londono, who works at a computer consulting firm in San Francisco, expects this to be the norm.

“In January, we actually asked everyone to work remotely from home,” Londono said. “I think most companies will consider this in some form moving forward.”

According to data compiled by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, 15% of businesses will remain remote permanently, 15% will not return, and more than 50% are adopting a hybrid model.

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“I know a lot of these companies planned to come back into the office and are now retiring,” Fong said. “We try to keep hope alive.”

Big tech companies like Facebook have pushed back their return to the office until the end of March. Airbnb has announced that their return is further delayed until September. Meanwhile, the Robinhood stock trading app is giving most employees the option to work remotely permanently. PayPal was originally scheduled to return to the office in January, but employees informed this week that remote work status will be an option until further notice.

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Downtown San Francisco sees 20% drop in foot traffic since omicron as most businesses adopt hybrid work model

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