Supporting Our Small Businesses

New Grants and Loans — Up to $62 Million

Today, we announced a new $62 million relief plan for small businesses. By leveraging an unprecedented local investment we plan to provide tens of millions of dollars more in grants and low to zero-interest loans for San Francisco businesses, sustaining and building upon the support we’ve provided since the start of the pandemic. The San Francisco Small Business Relief Grants and planned San Francisco Community Investments Loans complement state and federal programs and will help us reach businesses that haven’t been able to access the funding they desperately need to survive COVID-19. We’ll have more information about how businesses can apply for these grants and loans online at oewd.org/covid19.

Mayor Breed picking up a book at Green Apple Books in the Inner Sunset

Helping Businesses Access State and Federal Funding

This new local support goes along with expanded financial assistance from the federal government. In December, small businesses received some desperately needed good news that Congress finally approved more federal financial support, including $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $15 billion for the entertainment industry. This federal stimulus is going to help our businesses access new loans, provide relief for businesses that have been particularly hard-hit, and fund extended unemployment benefits. Now, we know that this may feel like too little, too late, but I am hopeful that it will make a meaningful difference for businesses that are barely hanging on.

COVID-19 Response — Stepping Up to Help Small Businesses

As we start this new year with the promise of new state and federal funding, we can look back at our efforts to support businesses throughout the pandemic.

Our Immediate Response

As it became clear early on that small businesses in San Francisco were going to need help to survive through COVID-19, we got to work creating programs and policies that would provide immediate support for businesses.

  • The Port, Airport, and Public Utilities Commission also implemented rent deferral and forgiveness programs for small and local business tenants, and the PUC offered discounts on utility bills to non-residential customers with less than 50 employees.

Our Continued Investments During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued on longer than we thought it might back in March, we realized we needed to continue the support that we had initiated early on.

  • We also recently extended the Unified License Fee deferral to October 2021, which will give approximately 19,000 businesses additional time to pay roughly $16 million in fees. No interest payments, fees, or fines will accrue as a result of the deferral.
  • These funds can still be used for businesses to be reimbursed for costs associated with their Shared Space or other storefront improvements they need to make.
Mayor Breed announcing the expansion of the JosNOW! program

Preparing for San Francisco’s Recovery

As we’ve worked to create programs that will meet the immediate needs of our businesses, we’ve also been looking toward our future, and working to set ourselves up for recovery. That means we’re always looking for ways to make it easier and less burdensome to be a business owner in San Francisco. Thanks to the hard work of the Economic Recovery Task Force, which we convened in April, we have a roadmap for our recovery — with concrete policy recommendations and suggestions from various sectors of our economy, including small businesses.

Shared Spaces

In June, we launched the Shared Spaces program to help neighborhood businesses use public spaces, such as sidewalks, full or partial streets, or other nearby public spaces like parks and plazas to operate outdoors. Shared Spaces allows businesses, local merchant associations, and community organizations to apply for a free, expedited permit to operate activities that are allowed under our Health Order. The program developed an easy-to-use permit application, and helped streamline the permit process so it was easier on our small businesses.

Mayor Breed talking with Amparo Vigil, small business owner of Puerto Alegre, at Valencia Street Shared Spaces

Proposition H — Save Our Small Businesses

Our system for permitting small businesses to open and operate was broken before the pandemic, but now it’s a matter of life and death for countless restaurants, retail establishments, and other businesses that we know and love in our community. That’s why I introduced Prop –Save Our Small Businesses — -in June, and why an overwhelming majority of voters supported it, because we don’t have time to waste. In November, I issued an Executive Order to implement Prop H within 30 days. We’re moving quickly to implement these changes now and help our small business community not only survive, but also recover and help get our economy back on track.

Ongoing Advocacy

I have worked with local, state, and national partners to advocate for regulatory relief from both state and federal government around employment benefits, including unemployment, sick leave, disability, and other matters to ensure employees going to work are safe and protected. Since the early months of the pandemic, we advocated for additional resources for small business and workers through the federal CARES Act.

Mayor Breed helping distribute personal protective equipment to small business owners in the Mission

Keeping a Focus on Equity

From the beginning of our COVID-19 response, we’ve made sure we focused on equity — and our approach to supporting businesses is no different. We’ve been intentional about supporting businesses that have been unable to access traditional financial capital and have funded minority-owned, women-owned, and immigrant-owned businesses, among others.

Do Your Part — Shop Local

The new federal relief package and our expanded local support will help, but for those of you who are looking for a way to support your local businesses over the coming weeks and months, one thing you can do is shop local. Local businesses are still open for in-person retail at a limited capacity, or you can order ahead on the phone or online and pick up your order curbside. However you choose to shop, I hope you’ll continue supporting San Francisco stores and restaurants.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
London Breed

London Breed

45th Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco