"Why stay in a city as expensive as San Francisco when you can go to Sierra Nevada with your computer?" "

A real estate sign in front of a house for sale in San Francisco, February 18.
A real estate sign in front of a house for sale in San Francisco, February 18. JEFF CHIU / AP

Chronic. A little feeling of exodus suddenly in San Francisco. " We're moving ! Announces a friend. Coronavirus has changed their lives. Walter, her husband, is a financial analyst. The investment fund where he works has decided that the entire division will work from home until June 2021. Too many people have to reinstate to meet the new requirement for physical distance. You have to save space on the premises.

Sylvia was dismissed from the gym where she worked part-time. She registered on "Contrace" a platform which connects the new unemployed with public health services which, throughout the country, are frantically seeking to recruit "Tracer contacts", the “detectives” who go up the virus contamination networks. One of these professions has become essential at the time of the pandemic.

In short, both are free as air. Long live telework. Forgotten the exorbitant rent in the Californian metropolis. Walter and Sylvia have already packed their bags. Direction: Texas. Not, like some, for ideological reasons (compared to California and its panoply of environmental regulations, Texas is the paradise of anti-tax individualists) but because the family has enough to rehouse them.

San Francisco is not about to go back to the way it was before. "Techies" want space and big houses. Nothing holds them back. Why stay in such an expensive city when you can go to Sierra Nevada with your computer? In Hawaii? When everything that makes up the city – restaurants, Warriors basketball games – is closed or suspended?

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The pandemic has accelerated the movement – started a few years ago – of relocation of "tech" in the states of the region: Nevada, where Reno has become an engineering "hub" around the Tesla plant; Arizona and even Utah in Salt Lake City. To the point of changing the sociology of the electorate in many constituencies, as the Republicans have seen to their detriment in the last electoral cycles.

Telework will become embedded. According to a study by the Bay Area Council employers' association, out of one hundred and twenty-three large companies in the region, 90% of them expect to continue working remotely when they reopen. 18% even plan to have 100% of their workforce in WFH (or "Work from home", the new essential acronym). Two thirds plan to alternate teams and schedules to reduce the number of employees present at the same time on the premises.

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