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California   /   June 29, 2020

Dennis Kaiser
By: Dennis Kaiser

San Francisco Introduces New COVID-19 CRE Cleaning Standards; Mayor Pauses Reopening

An emergency Healthy Buildings Ordinance was introduced by a trio of San Francisco supervisors last week that would require office buildings and hotel properties to meet new cleaning standards upon reopening, or face fines. Layered on top of that measure, San Francisco Mayor announced on Friday the next phase of the city’s reopening was being pushed back.

Mayor Breed tweeted on Friday, “Our reopening process is guided by data and science. COVID-19 cases are rising throughout CA. We’re now seeing a rise in cases in SF too. Our numbers are still low but rising rapidly. As a result, we’re temporarily delaying the re-openings that were scheduled for Monday.”

Businesses and activities that were set to be allowed to open on July 29th included hair salons, barbers, museums, zoos, tattoo parlors, massage establishments, nail salons and outdoor bars.

The Mayor indicated the number of cases hit 103 on Thursday. By comparison, on June 15, when San Francisco first reopened outdoor dining and in-store retail, it had 20 cases. The fear is that at the current rate, the number could double rapidly, and without the delayed reopening, the city’s only option would be to shut down.

The cleaning ordinance is set to remain in effect for 60 days and would establish cleaning and disease prevention standards in CRE office buildings 50,000 square feet or larger as well as tourist hotels. Public areas, elevators and restrooms will be required to be cleaned every 30 minutes. Employees will be required to be trained on the new standards on paid time, as well as be provided with additional protections as they perform cleaning duties. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will be responsible for enforcing the standards as well as imposing any financial penalties.

BOMA San Francisco called the ordinance “redundant,” since existing guidance has already been issued by state regulatory agencies. BOMA wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors, “Having multiple authorities issuing guidance and standards is confusing and accomplishes little. The other agencies with medical expertise are the ones tasked by law with issuing this type of guidance and they have done so, and the Board of Supervisors should not interfere.”

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Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience.
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