People, businesses moving out of San Francisco in apparent pandemic exodus

West

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — It appears that some people may be leaving the city of San Francisco to live and work elsewhere as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been more than 6 months since the pandemic began. Although data is still being collected on the impact COVID-19 is having on residents leaving the city of San Francisco, the city’s Chief Economist Dr. Ted Egan says there are some early indicators of what appears to be an exodus.

“We are seeing very big declines in apartment asking rates in San Francisco. The biggest of any big city in the United States and that’s a clear sign that you have got more people wanting to get out of an apartment in San Francisco than wanting to get in,” Egan said. 

San Francisco is a major economic force. The city’s GDP prior to COVID was about $165-billion. 

This year’s shelter-in-place orders and the on-again-off-again shutting down of brick and mortar stores impacting 2020 sales tax revenue is to be expected. 

What was not anticipated is a noticeable drop in online sales—another probable indicator of people leaving the city, says Dr. Egan.

“We saw almost no growth in online sales in San Francisco and that is different than virtually everywhere in the state. So it does beg the question. Why aren’t people buying online in San Francisco and one answer is there aren’t as many people in San Francisco as there where prior to the pandemic,” Egan said. 

The Public Policy Director of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce says a growing number of businesses are shutting their doors with little hope of reopening.

“And when businesses leave they’re taking their jobs, their employees, their revenue, the tax revenue along with them. They’re taking part of our culture,” Jay Cheng said. 

San Francisco still remains one of the most desirable locations to live and work in the country. 

The city’s top economic minds say they are optimistic that businesses that are closed are going to come back when it is safe to do so.

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