Restaurants and small shops were struggling in this high-cost, high-regulation city even before the pandemic hit; the enforced closure or radical change in business practices for many of them has left a lot of businesses on the ropes, their future uncertain. The city is hoping to offer a lifeline for some of them with a series of initiatives announced recently.
A new Small Business Emergency Loan Fund totaling $10 million drew more than 2,000 applications in its first three weeks. Qualifying businesses would receive up to $50,000 in no-interest loans, with flexible repayment schedules determined on a case-by-base basis. The city’s Resiliency Fund was increased to $2 million to give it the ability to support more than 200 small businesses with grants up to $10,000.
Other initiatives include $2.5 million for artists and cultural organizations; deferral of $54 million in business taxes and licensing fees; a moratorium on commercial evictions for small and medium-sized businesses unable to pay their rents; $10 million for a paid sick leave program; and a Give2SF.org fund, collecting donations to provide housing, food, and financial help to workers and small businesses. In addition, the city established a new website for businesses and employees to find resources, contacts, and news at oewd.org/covid19.