San Francisco’s stay-at-home order likely to stretch through January: Dr. Colfax

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Small businesses in San Francisco will soon benefit from a new $62 million relief plan, Mayor London Breed said in a COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon.

The financial relief includes grants as well as “very low to zero-interest loans,” the city said.

“We have lost too many of our small businesses already during this pandemic, and this relief plan will help many businesses get through these next challenging months as the vaccine is distributed and we can begin our recovery,” Mayor London Breed said.

How the city describes the relief proposals:

SF Relief Grants – up to $12.4 million: The proposed grant program will provide immediate relief to help stabilize small business operations by offering grants of $5,000 to $20,000, based on the number of employees that each employer had in February 2020. This program will support small businesses operated by people of color, women, long-standing businesses, those most impacted by Stay at Home orders, and those that were excluded from or otherwise unable to access state and federal programs. Businesses will be required to have a San Francisco location and/or a San Francisco business license to operate.

SF Community Investment Loans – up to $50 million: This planned loan program is aimed at supporting businesses by providing working capital, especially to those left out of existing relief programs. This will include businesses that normally generate more than $2.5 million in annual revenue, including many restaurants. This plan also includes a focus on microloans for businesses who may not otherwise be in a position to borrow capital. 

Before the funding can be distributed, the city said the board of supervisors will need to approve an ordinance first, which will be introduced this month.

The latest COVID-19 numbers

Dr. Grant Colfax said while the city saw a 70% increase in COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving, the December holiday surge is 28%.

He also offered positive information regarding ICU beds in San Francisco — Colfax said the county still has the ICU capacity to treat patients, but surrounding counties in the Bay Area continue to have shrinking capacity.

As a whole region, the Bay Area at last update has 0.7% ICU availability.

Vaccination efforts

San Francisco is using community partnerships and health care partnerships to begin administering vaccinations to those most vulnerable.

“The health department will make sure these populations are offered vaccines,” said Colfax.

People 65 years of age and older will begin to be offered the vaccination this week within the clinical care system of the San Francisco Health Department, Colfax said.

The county is also working with the Latino Task Force to make sure vaccines reach populations with the highest prevalence of COVID-19 cases.

According to the health department, San Francisco residents who identify as Hispanic or Latinx make up 43.3% of total reported COVID-19 cases, although they only make up about 15% of the population.

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