A Los Angeles County health official says stay-at-home orders will stick through August 1, while Twitter employees just got a pass to work at home through forever.
Should you have popped into your social media timeline today, you probably saw posts of alarm and wailing over a reports like “L.A. County to keep stay-at-home orders in place through July to fight coronavirus.” Yes, through July, meaning up until August 1, which seems like a heartbreak gut-punch of loneliness, financial despair, and a further death sentence for your sex life. That headline, seen below and since altered, has since spawned many reports like this KRON4 piece that says “the county’s stay-at-home orders will ‘with all certainty’ be extended through July, the Los Angeles Times reports.”
Let’s take a closer look at that Los Angeles Times report. It says that LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer made a remark at a board of supervisors meeting — not an official declaration — where she did indeed use the phrase “with all certainty” in reference to extended orders, but also said the county would “slowly lift restrictions over the next three months.” In other words, she’s not saying full shelter-in-place is staying in effect until August, she’s saying that every last restriction will not be lifted until August 1.
Video: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti calls into CNN with Jake Tapper to do some damage control, telling Jake that the three month extension will not mean everything stays closed.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 12, 2020
"Well, I want to reassure people because I think there was a lot panic suddenly" when the story came out pic.twitter.com/L7ow4ZA7Ga
LA mayor Eric Garcetti quickly got himself a CNN slot to clarify/walk back the claim. “There was a lot of panic suddenly when the headline said we’re all going to stay exactly as we are for three more months, when that’s not the case,” he told Jake Tapper in the video above. “She’s saying we’re not going to fully reopen Los Angeles, and probably anywhere in America, without any protections or any health orders, in the next three months. I think we know that it’s going to be even longer than three months.”
It should be noted that Los Angeles County has continued to be a hot spot for the coronavirus in the state, and just recorded almost 600 new cases and 39 new deaths on Monday.
New: Shelter-in-place mandates for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and Berkeley will be extended through May. New health orders (not out yet) will lift restrictions on some unspecified low-risk activities.— Dominic Fracassa (@DominicFracassa) April 27, 2020
In San Francisco, where we added only 23 new cases today, these orders are generally expanded via three-week or one-month extensions. It’s highly unlikely we would see multiple-month extensions in one fell swoop. Further, our orders are also coordinated with those of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, so it’s a pretty measured process.
But today we saw a one-fell-swoop forever declaration for Twitter, as SFGate reports that Twitter employees got permission to from home forever if they want to. “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to SFGate. “If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”
SFGate reports that the Twitter office won’t reopen until September anyway, and even that will be a gradual reopening, with no in-person company events for the remainder of the year. Facebook and Google, respectively, allowed their employees to work at home for the rest of 2020 according to Variety, but those announcements only apply to the cushy salaried employees. It’s unclear whether contractors get the same rights.
In this morning's roundup I mentioned that SF is in the verge of a commercial real estate apocalypse... https://t.co/n4oy9yylBF— Violet Blue® (@violetblue) May 12, 2020
As a fun aside, let’s also consider the effect of this on San Francisco corporate real estate. Working from home is the new cool in Big Tech, and Juul just announced they were moving their headquarters out of SF. Splashy tech deals for downtown SF offices are certainly on hold, and may be one of the things that don’t come back for a long, long time as we navigate the new normal of COVID-19.
Image: @izayvh via Unsplash