App offering work from home break from kids, spouses now investigated by SF city attorney's office

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Globe is advertised as a booking app that lets you find a nearby empty home or apartment when you need peace and quiet.

"Everybody's working from home right now, you come to the Globe app, you search the inventory that we have in your building, or a few blocks away and you find an empty unit to find a place to get work done," said Globe Founder and CEO Manny Bamfo.

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Bamfo says guests are charged anywhere from 25 cents to $1.50 a minute. Most he says stay for an average of two hours.

During COVID-19, Bamfo says Globe is appealing to roommates, significant others and parents who can't escape to the office or elsewhere.

"What we've done is we've provided you that reprieve," said Bamfo.

San Francisco is one of Globe's most popular cities according to Bamfo, but there are questions about whether Globe violates the city's health order.

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In an emailed statement, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office tells ABC7 News, "We are investigating these operations, and we're not going to discuss specifics while that investigation is ongoing. In general, as stated in the City's public FAQs, short-term rentals may only be used for limited purposes under the health order. They can be used when necessary for essential activities, like providing a place to stay for first responders or people needing to self-isolate to avoid infecting or becoming infected by a household member. Between occupants, the owner must thoroughly clean and sanitize the unit in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines. Under the order, short-term rentals may not be used for vacationing or generally visiting with someone. No short-term rentals may operate in San Francisco unless they are registered with the City and meet the requirements of the short-term rental law."

Bamfo tells ABC7 News he doesn't view Globe as a short-term rental because people are not staying overnight. Globe is available between 7 am and 10 pm.

Bamfo says hosts certify via a checklist that they've cleaned everything in between guests.
"All the countertops, all the light switches, the furniture, the couches," said Bamfo.

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But he admits, Globe is taking hosts at their word, having gone through in his words, a great deal to qualify as hosts.

He says Globe is also making sure guests are healthy.

"You do have to send us your temperature, you gotta take a picture of a thermometer reading send it to us," said Bamfo.

"Not everyone who has Covid we now know has a fever," said San Francisco Deputy Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip.

"It may not be broad enough to cover all the bases for infection," she continued.

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