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San Francisco leaders push for financial help to keep nightclubs open

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – For San Francisco’s hard-hit live music and entertainment industry, the doors have remained closed for nearly 10 months.

To make sure those doors eventually open back up, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney proposed a recovery fund to help save the city’s nightlife industry. 

This comes at the same time that the federal government approved the save our stages act, which will provide $15 billion in grants to live entertainment venues.

However, it’s still unclear when that money will be distributed and how many businesses it will reach. 

For many of these venues, they’ve had no way to make money since the beginning of this pandemic. 

Many are on the brink of closures and federal money may come too late if at all, that’s why San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney says a recovery fund is essential.

As the pandemic forced San Francisco’s live music and entertainment venues to keep their doors shut since mid-March, some doors won’t open again, including the doors at the Stud’s former home on 9th Street.

“We’ve all seen cities that have not fostered these institutions that make them such beautifully rich cultural centers and I fear we can turn into one of those ghost towns,” Maria Davis said.

Co-owner Maria Davis says they shut down to avoid the mounting debt from the closure so they could come back someday in a new location.

Meanwhile, other establishments, like PianoFight, are barely getting by, hoping to make it through the pandemic, a scenario that’s becoming less likely as the months go on.

“It’s been rough you know? We’ve been racking up debt and without either support from the federal, local, or state government. Us and many other small venues and businesses are just going to go out of business,” Rob Ready said.

PianoFight co-owner Rob Ready says that’s why he got involved with the independent venue alliance and San Francisco venue coalition to push the city for more help.

Supervisor Haney has been listening and recently proposed a recovery fund to save San Francisco’s hard-hit entertainment industry.

“Right now there’s really no plan to open the arts and music venues, comedy clubs, theaters and so if we want these businesses to be here when the pandemic is over, we need to give them a lifeline of support,” Haney said.

While the federal government just approved $15 billion dollars in grants for entertainment venues, Haney says it may be too late before the help gets here, which is why a city fund is crucial to saving San Francisco’s nightlife.

“It may be next year, late next year before that money gets to businesses like theaters, like music venues and what they told us is that might be too late so my hope is we can start this fund, get some city money in it, however, limited, some private funds, some federal money that might come into local governments and then we can bridge these businesses so they can stay afloat,” Haney said. 

Haney says there will be a hearing and vote in January for the recovery fund and from there, if approved, they’ll be able to start building the fund.

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