SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - Mayor London Breed joined business leaders on Monday to announce the BloomSF celebration later in the month to help encourage employees and visitors to come back to downtown two years into the pandemic.
"We got to remember, we've been in the house for two years, a global pandemic has kept us apart from one another like never before and now that we're emerging from this pandemic, we have so much to celebrate San Francisco," Breed said at a news conference.
Organizers of the weeklong celebration called BloomSF said that businesses told them they needed the city to showcase that it was open again and safe for people to enjoy public gatherings. Rather than just emphasizing that restrictions are lifted and telling the public it is no longer a health concern to be around others, they wanted events to prove that the time to come back downtown was now.
"We're coming back to work. We're all going to wear pants and shoes, we're going to fill up these buildings," said Rob Tibbetts at the news conference.
Tibbetts is the marketing principal for the engineering firm HOK in San Francisco. He shared the company is in the process of bringing back 200 employees to its offices.
"We need to work together, we need to see each other, there's a certain magic and collective creativity that just isn't possible on Zoom," said Tibbetts.
BloomSF begins on March 27 and continues through April 2 with a schedule events that includes fitness classes, DJ sessions, happy hour gatherings, standup comedy, and other live performances. The 7 Fingers group showcased some of its members talent at the news conference in the Salesforce Park.
"It's been really a difficult time for us, it's been hard to see the city feel like a ghost town," said Denise Tran, the founder of Bun Mee restaurants in San Francisco.
Their Market Street location has not reopened yet because it relies on catering orders and office lunches.
"The small mom and pop businesses in downtown San Francisco that make this city so special and unique desperately need folks to come back to work."
People who recently returned to the office said they did not enjoy having home and work under one roof and applaud the effort by the mayor to get more people back to downtown.
"It's just nice to have other people around you, I was working from home most of the pandemic," said James Shafer, a tech company employee.
Shafer used to live in San Francisco but now commutes from Redwood City to downtown.
"Everything was shut down, there wasn't much going on, there wasn't much life in the city, so happy to see that coming back," he said.
Each venue that hosts an event for BloomSF is covering the cost, according to the mayor's office. The promotion for the week of events is funded by downtown companies and business districts. The name BloomSF comes from the plan to have art installations featuring flowers, which the city is coordinating with the SF Flower Mart.
"Make sure that you visit some of the areas along the East Cut, the downtown, Union Square, and places throughout San Francisco that are going to highlight some of these extraordinary activities," Breed said. "Because we are back, we are back and now it's time to appreciate life like never before."
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