As COVID-19 cases rise, here's a look at impact on travel, weddings and return to office

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID-19 cases continue to rise amidst the new variant, and in San Francisco positivity rates are now at 6.5%.

But even with those numbers, we're not seeing the impact on businesses like we saw during the pandemic.

COVID case trends across the U.S are rising. Hospitalizations in some areas are rising, but if you've been traveling lately- you'd never realize that as there is record demand.

"There isn't a direct correlation between cases and bookings anymore. I think that really shows at least for the travel industry we're in, a different phase of this pandemic at this point," said David Slotnick of the travel web site The Points Guy.

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COVID cases throughout the Bay Area have been increasing for the past two weeks with the majority of the region in the red.



A phase of the pandemic where deaths are on the decline. In 2020, weddings were being canceled left and right. We're not seeing that now, but those close to getting married are no doubt keeping an eye on the rising COVID cases, says Bay Area wedding planner Jenna Lam of Jenna Lam Events.

"I would say right now we're seeing people who have just increased anxiety. We're not seeing cancellations. We're not seeing drastic moves, but we are seeing people start to pay attention to rising cases and what might be coming down the pipeline," says Lam.

In the office world, Brian Kropp of the research firm Gartner says the return to work has slowed due to three things. Rising COVID cases, the transit mask mandate that was dropped, and high gas prices.

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Companies are finally calling employees back to the office after two years, but the experience will be different for individuals.



"For those three reasons, we're actually seeing the return to workplace by a lot of companies slow down a little bit across the last quarter," says Kropp.

In fact, Kropp says the urgency of employees who have been remote or hybrid to get back to work is not there like it once was, likely due to the many variants we have seen and work efficiency from home. He estimates that the workplace post-pandemic life will be more hybrid with less than half of employees at the office. Much lower than initial estimates a year ago.

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Derick Waller reports the news came as Pfizer sought permission to offer a booster dose to kids ages 5 to 11



"Once we are past the pandemic at whatever point that occurs, we're going to be about 35-40% full relative to where they were in 2019," says Kropp.

Certainly a hybrid world where companies are ready for the unexpected.

"We're scaling back a little bit in terms of what we're taking on just in case we do need to pivot and postpone something. So we're not looking at a year where we are looking at 30 to 40 weddings. Usually we take about 10-12 a year," says Lam.

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