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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office is launching an investigation after his office said several Chinatown merchants were hit by potentially fake lawsuits and so-called “demand letters.”

According to Boudin’s office, the lawsuits appear to come from lawyers who say the businesses did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“They are exploited and extorting small businesses,” Boudin said at a briefing Wednesday. “Not to vindicate the critical rights or inclusion of the disabled, but rather to shake down and extort those who are already suffering in the wake of a horrific pandemic and a wave of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese hate across this country.”

Boudin said that Chinatown merchants were no more likely to violate the ADA than any other business owner in the city.

Edward Siu of the Chinatown Merchants United Association also spoke at Wednesday’s briefing and said, “The lawsuits target hardworking, monolingual, mom-and-pop stores located in the country’s oldest and largest Chinatown. Many are still struggling through this pandemic.”

The district attorney went on to say, “We are concerned that potentially frivolous lawsuits not only fail to promote accessibility or disability rights, but instead force businesses to either shut down or provide payouts to lawyers who have no interest in promoting disability rights.”

Boudin urged business owners who believe they have been victimized by the lawsuits to come forward and contact the DA’s office Consumer Protection and Fraud Hotline at 628-652-4311.

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Tags: san francisco news ada americans with disabilities act chinatown district attorney chesa boudin frivolous lawsuits lawsuits san francisco san francisco news san francisco news boudin’s office disability rights the lawsuits the lawsuits chesa boudin lawyers

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COVID resurgence shuts down Twitters Bay Area offices

Twitter has reversed its re-opening of offices in San Francisco and New York as a resurgent coronavirus sows fear and uncertainty in the Bay Area and across the U.S.

The San Francisco social media giant has put any future re-openings on hold, citing new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the “current conditions” that have seen the virulent Delta variant of COVID-19 boosting infections and hospitalizations.

“We’re continuing to closely monitor local conditions and make necessary changes that prioritize the health and safety of our Tweeps,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Twitter had just opened the offices two weeks ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

An alarming increase in hospitalizations and case rates across California pushed state health authorities on Wednesday to call for everyone to resume wearing masks indoors and for unvaccinated people to get immunized. The CDC this week also reversed course amid the Delta variant’s rise, and recommended that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of “substantial or high transmission.” State public health officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said Wednesday that more than 90% of California’s population is in such areas.

According to CDC data, San Francisco County has “high” transmission, along with Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties. Santa Clara, San Mateo and Marin counties have “substantial” transmission, according to the CDC.

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Twitter’s reversal comes as Google this week also delayed full re-opening by extending its remote-work option for employees through October 18 instead of September 1. Company CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post, “Many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office.”

The Mountain View digital-advertising firm started bringing workers back to offices July 12, and Pichai encouraged those who feel safe coming to offices to continue doing so.

Apple has also delayed re-opening by a month until at least October, Bloomberg reported last week.



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