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Economy recovery task force created to stop business closures in San Jose

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — As more businesses close amid the coronavirus pandemic, business owners and community leaders in downtown San Jose organized an economic recovery task force to stop the closures.

Just this week, they submitted a list of recommendations to the city.

The city is already moving forward with some of those plans that will affect businesses and customers.

Businesses boarded up — some closed for good, as the pandemic leaves many of these places in downtown San Jose holding on by a thread.

“Watching these invoices, you can see them right here behind me. These are all invoices that have been piling up the last few months that we’re working with our vendors to pay,” Cache Bouren said.

Bouren owns a decade-old bar called Habberdasher in downtown San Jose.

He’s also the co-chair of a newly formed 40-person coalition, called The Greater Downtown San Jose Economic Recovery Task Force, which was championed by councilmember Raul Peralez in May.

Over the last five weeks, the group examined ways to keep businesses in district three open.

This week, they submitted a list of nine recommendations to the city, some of them include extending free parking downtown and a new marketing campaign for the storefronts.

“People that would come and spend money at our businesses don’t feel safe coming out so being able to help build consumer confidence that we are operating safely, and we’re adhering to guidelines so they could come and support the businesses they love was a big one,” Bouren said. “And of course being in the bar and restaurant industry, I wanted to push for less taxes, less fees, remove any paid parking just temporarily to encourage more people to safely come out.”

Other recommendations include: immediately reopening personal service businesses like hair salons, turning public areas into outdoor retail space, and a new multilingual information hub for business owners.

Executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, Scott Knies, says the recommendations show promise.

“Because the task force was able to move so swiftly and so pragmatically to come up with such tight recommendations, we were able to get this in the mayor’s budget memo two weeks ago so there’s actually $100,000 already been appropriated to help make some of the recommendations happen,” Knies said.

Knies says leaders are now looking to adopt the recommendations city-wide.

The city’s already moving forward to reduce or waive parking fees downtown, and will hear the rest of the recommendations next week.

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