SF hotels welcome more travelers for Memorial Day weekend but is it safe? Experts say it depends

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many of us are taking a big step this Memorial Day weekend and traveling for the first time since the pandemic began.

But is it safe to stay in a hotel for example?

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Experts say it depends on your vaccination status.

"I'm smiling under my mask," said Sally Miguel.

Sally and Eric Miguel from Sacramento are spending Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco. It's their first getaway in more than a year.

"It brings a sense of freedom just to get out again," said Eric Miguel.

For many of us, Memorial Day weekend is the first holiday in quite a while that feels like a holiday.

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More people are hitting the road to venture out.

"This weekend on Memorial Day, our hotels are seeing more people that are booking," said Hotel Council of San Francisco President and CEO Kevin Carroll.

Carroll says tourists are slowly coming back.

"When you come to a hotel, you're not only helping the hotel, the city and employees and restaurants around the hotel," said Carroll.

But for some people, staying in a hotel is a big step in coming out of the pandemic, some remain reluctant. But experts say, in most cases, it's safe to check in.

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"My advice, if you're fully vaccinated, do it," said UCSF professor of Epidemiology Dr. George Rutherford.

But Rutherford gives this travel warning to the unvaccinated because COVID is still out there.

"If you're unvaccinated, you need to exercise all sorts of cautions, I'd probably be sitting tight if I was unvaccinated this weekend," he said.

Guests at the newly reopened Palace Hotel can watch a video on what cleaning protocols the hotel is taking, keeping everything from fixtures to light switches, even TV remotes sanitized. The city's health department now requires the same steps for every hotel.

"We feel comfortable," Eric Miguel added.

And being comfortable is the first step to getting back out there.

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