With many South Bay and Santa Cruz residents evacuating homes threatened by the recent fires, hotels that had settled into the Covid-19 induced lull suddenly found themselves overrun. For many of these hotels, the response was to raise rates beyond what many of the evacuees could justify paying in their moment of need.
Mayor Sam Liccardo had a different plan for San Jose when he introduced the “San Jose Cares” initiative. “We know that hotels in other towns or cities may be raising their rates right now, sadly, given the increased demand for a room,” he said of the new campaign. “But we’re going to take the high road here, we’re going to reduce our rates, and make rooms available for a lot of families that need them.
This initiative includes 14 hotels in the San Jose area that would offer discounted rooms for people escaping the fires. These lowered rates are important step in supporting members of our community that are being displaced by dangerous wildfire, however, it has also revealed an unexpected silver lining.
San Jose’s downtown core, which had become something of a ghost town in the wake of the pandemic, has seen an unexpected economic upshot as the fire evacuees have filled the local hotels and begun to patron the downtown restaurants.
Even as smoke continues to hang heavy in the air, al fresco dining at San Pedro Square and along San Fernando Street has been increasingly populated, offering a ray of hope and a silver lining in an extremely difficult situation.
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