A Request for Proposals is live, and hotels are, in essence, bidding against one another in order to allow San Francisco to turn empty hotels into shelter spaces — for at least four months.
Per our sources, hotels have been given an extension until Saturday to enter their bids; the original deadline was midnight tonight.
We reported yesterday that San Francisco officials expect to have obtained 3,000 to 4,000 hotel rooms by next week to house COVID-19 patients, those awaiting tests to be processed, those at risk, and medical and other professionals.
While the city could, conceivably, seize these rooms using eminent domain — even for temporary use — Mission Local is told that this process is quicker, avoids years of potential legal recriminations. “Everyone is playing nicely in the sandbox,” sums up a city official.
Even only days ago, the stigma and perceived brand deterioration of becoming a sanatarium may have made hotel officials uneasy. But that was then and this is now and the times are a-changin’: major and internationally famous hotels have, purportedly, proactively reached out to the city to propose using their virtually empty buildings.
Hotels and other lodgings that could potentially sign on range from small to medium to large; some of the names mentioned on background are among the city’s most prestigious establishments.
These hotels will have to be staffed by “very brave people,” notes a city official.
“As a union, we want to help, like any San Franciscan,” said Anand Singh, the president of Local 2, the hotel workers’ union. “We need to make sure our members have whatever equipment and training they need. There’s a lot of detail here we want to sit down at the table and work through.”
San Francisco will also have to shore up supply chains of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment and food and other essentials.
San Francisco, unlike other entities, has large amounts of cash on hand — “and, right now, a lot of supply chains in the country aren’t doing any deals without cash up front,” we are told. “We have to keep our society going. We are actually paying our bills.”
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