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Shining a (purple) light on hospitality workers amid the coronavirus pandemic in San Francisco

Bay Area tourism spots light up to honor restaurant and hotel workers left jobless by coronavirus shut down

Across the country, medical workers and first responders are being celebrated for being on the front lines of the coronavirus battlegrounds, but San Francisco also paid tribute to the many hospitality workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Over the course of several days in April, landmarks across the city were bathed in purple lights to honor hospitality workers, including San Francisco International Airport, the Moscone Center, Coit Tower and the Ferry Building, as well as locations in nearby Sonoma, Berkeley, Santa Clara, San Jose, Livermore and Torrance. Some of the many empty hotels also decorated in purple to honor their laid-off employees.

“Thousands of employees in our hospitality and tourism industry have been heavily impacted by the ongoing coronavirus crisis,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement. “We know this is an incredibly difficult time for hospitality workers and that many are experiencing uncertainty and financial hardships. We’re committed to helping them through this time because of all they’ve done for San Francisco. Lighting buildings throughout the city in purple is a symbol of that commitment and our gratitude for their work.”

Tourism is San Francisco’s largest industry. The San Francisco Travel Association reported a total of 26.2 million visitors in 2019, spending $10.2 billion, including in the city’s bars and restaurants.

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