OAKLAND, Calif. - People with appointments for COVID vaccinations and tests arrived at a clinic near Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza Wednesday, only to find the site had closed down.
The sudden closure caught many people by surprise when they turned up for their appointments.
Weiting Bollu and her husband, Vishal, thought it'd be simple getting a COVID test Wednesday for their flight home to Toronto. When she arrived at 250 Frank Ogawa Plazam, however, the lobby was empty.
"Earlier today we booked a test for each of us at the Frank Ogawa Plaza," said Weiting Bollu, "It was a 4:30 appointment."
The non-profit named ‘Covid Clinic’ that was operating the site had abruptly shut its doors. A handwritten note taped to the door told people to go across town to a clinic in the Fruitvale district.
That meant people having to make a five-mile trek across town during rush hour to the other clinic.
"I was really nervous cause it said that it closed at 5, and then we rushed over," Bollu said.
"Luckily, I was able to change my Uber destination from that place to this place before we got here," said her husband, Vishal Bollu.
Other people said they also had to scramble after scheduling vaccine shots at the downtown site and getting no notice that clinic had closed.
"It was earlier this week and then they sent two text messages and it got a little confusing and we arrived there, and they told us to come here," said Patrick Chow of Oakland.
The operator is a non-profit called Covid Clinic based in Southern California. It was founded in Huntington Beach during the pandemic by Dr. Matthew Abinante, DO, who received his degree from Touro University in Vallejo. COVID Clinic operates testing sites nationwide.
The City of Oakland said Covid Clinic signed an agreement in September to provide vaccines and testing for city employees and the public at city sites rent free.
The city said in a statement it is "extremely disappointed they were unable to fulfill their agreement to extend services through the end of December as previously announced."
The city says the clinic had been running short on some vaccine doses and the city learned Tuesday the clinic was shutting down due to vaccine and staffing shortages.
A Covid Clinic spokesperson says it was a bottom-line business decision.
Covid Clinic's CEO Matt Collins said in a statement "Due to the City of Oakland's inability to provide sites that accommodate both testing and vaccination services in the City of Oakland and the Oakland Fire Department's decision not to extend our contract past December 30th...we have relocated our testing and vaccination services."
Covid Clinics said it had expected to get more Covid testing sites, which generate revenue needed to offset costs of free vaccine shots.
Also they say the city wouldn't commit to letting them stay downtown long term. The City of Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd says the city did not want them to leave.
Both sides hope to alert people about the change to avoid more confusion.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.