Shelter-in-place: SF offers help to some small businesses, but some still furious over closures

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the new stay-at-home orders go into effect, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced financial help for small businesses in the city. While some say it is a first step, others say outdoor dining should not have been banned.

Walking around San Francisco you can see empty parklets everywhere.

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"We have a five thousand dollar grant. This announcement provides an additional 3.2 million in already allocated funds," says Joaquin Torres, who is Director of Economic and Workforce Development in San Francisco.

Businesses that were involved in outdoor dining with the Shared Spaces program in San Francisco can get a grant for up to 5-thousand dollars. Those from the Chinatown Merchants Association are firing back saying that is not good enough for restaurants on the verge of closing.

"Five thousand dollars is nothing, five thousand dollars barely even pays for their food supply," says Eva Lee of the Chinatown Merchants Association.

San Francisco is also giving Latino-owned businesses a chance at zero interest loans for up to $50,000 in a community hit hard by COVID-19.

"The fact that the mayor acknowledges the neighborhood, the inherent value of the Latino businesses, is a real important step," says Edward Duran who manages Taqueria La Cumbre in San Francisco's Mission Neighborhood.

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To curb the spread of COVID-19, San Francisco is joining several other Bay Area jurisdictions in implementing a stay-at-home order beginning Sunday.



But positive news to some is frustrating news to others.

"Not only the Latino business owners, but they should also do it for the Chinese-Asian communities, they should do it across the board for everybody," says Kathy Lee who manages Far East Café in Chinatown.

Those with the city say they are working at allocating more funds but need additional Federal dollars.

"Is it enough right now? Not at all. Is it something that helps us move forward in a positive direction so that small businesses and communities know that we are thinking immediately about their needs? Absolutely," says Torres.

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To apply for grants and a reimbursement of up to $5,000, check out the Shared Spaces Equity Grants here.

To apply for zero interest loans of up to $50K, check out San Francisco Latino Small Business Fund-: link.oewd.org/latinofund

City Hotlines is for businesses and workers who have questions. The hotlines support multiple languages.

Small Business Hotline: 415-554-6134 or sfosb@sfgov.org

Worker Information Hotline: 415-701-4817 or workforce.connection@sfgov.org

For information on resources and services for businesses and workers impacted by this pandemic, people can visit San Francisco's resources website here.

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