According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the US Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Administration Cheryl R. Campbell issued the stay-home recommendation in an Aug. 4 memo to regional leaders, writing, “In light of the conditions at the (Federal Building) we recommend employees … maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future.”
“This recommendation should be extended to all Region IX employees, including those not currently utilizing telework flexibilities,” Campbell added, referencing California and other Western states included in the same federal government zone, according to the outlet.
Axios reported that same day that President Joe Biden’s White House chief of staff called for more federal employees to return to their offices following years of remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Chronicle, the 18-story building on Seventh and Mission Streets houses multiple federal agencies, including the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Transportation, and an office for Nancy Pelosi, for whom the building is named.
The outlet reported, “Dozens of dealers routinely plant themselves on, next to or across the street from the property, operating in shifts as users smoke, snort or shoot up their recent purchases. The property’s concrete benches are an especially popular site for users to get high, socialize or pass out.”
Pelosi herself has previously called out the safety issues. Spokesperson Aaron Bennett said in a statement to The Chronicle, “Federal, state, and local law enforcement — in coordination with public health officials and stakeholders — are working hard to address the acute crises of fentanyl trafficking and related violence in certain areas of the city.”
A tenant in the building told the outlet that there have been new security measures including rotating personnel from other properties for additional security and creating a “BART Buddies,” a program to escort employees to and from transit during the afternoon/evening commute.
Crime has gotten so bad in the city that Nordstrom announced it was shuttering downtown locations, AT&T closed its flagship location, as did Cinemark, Old Navy, Whole Foods, and T-Mobile. Westfield surrendered San Francisco Centre, the city’s biggest mall to its lender and Park Hotels & Resorts also announced it had stopped making its mortgage payments and turned over the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 to the bank, all due to safety concerns.
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