SAN FRANCISCO Mayor London N. Breed on Tuesday, March 17 announced a moratorium on commercial evictions for small and medium-sized businesses related to financial impacts caused by COVID-19. The moratorium will prevent any small- to medium-sized business from being evicted due to a loss of income related to lost revenue or other economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under normal state law, localities are prohibited from regulating commercial evictions. San Francisco is allowed to take this action following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order that was signed on Monday, March 16, and Mayor Breed issued this moratorium under the powers of the Local Emergency she declared on February 25th. The small- and medium-sized business eviction moratorium will be in effect for 30 days, and can be extended by the Mayor for another 30 days through an Executive Order. If the Local Emergency declared by the Mayor is rescinded at any point, the moratorium will cease to be in effect.
This commercial eviction moratorium will apply to businesses with a license to operate in San Francisco that have less than $25 million in annual gross receipts. This follows a moratorium on residential evictions that Mayor Breed announced on March 13.
“The steps we have taken to protect public health are absolutely necessary, but we know that they are having a huge impact on our workers and our businesses,” said Mayor Breed. “Now that the Governor has waived laws allowing us to prevent commercial evictions, we are taking action to make sure that our small businesses are not displaced as a result of the economic impact caused by coronavirus. We will continue to push for more immediate state and federal support in addition to the programs we’ve introduced locally, because this pandemic is having major widespread economic impacts on almost every business and resident in our city.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Breed announced the Workers and Families First Program to provide paid sick leave to private sector workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will include $10 million in public funding that will provide businesses with funding to provide an additional five days of sick leave pay to workers beyond their existing policies. If fully used, this program would support over 16,000 additional weeks of sick leave pay, providing coverage for up to 25,000 San Francisco employees.
The City has also launched efforts to support small businesses include deferring business taxes and licensing fees, launching a relief fund for impacted businesses, supporting nonprofits funded by the City so workers don’t lose their incomes, working with partners in the philanthropic and private sector, and advocating for state and federal support for workers and businesses. This includes the www.Give2SF.org fund, where donations can be made to support both small businesses and individuals impacted by coronavirus. The City launched a website to serve as a one-stop shop for all resources, contacts, and updates for small businesses: www.oewd.org/covid19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is doing severe harm to small businesses in San Francisco and elsewhere, and we must take aggressive steps to help them survive and reopen after the stay-at-home order ends,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who announced legislation along with Senator Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to place a moratorium on commercial evictions. “The last thing we need is permanent mass closure of San Francisco small businesses due to inability to pay rent. We need to hit the pause button and allow these businesses — many of whom have little or no revenue at the moment — not to pay rent while still keeping their spaces. I applaud Mayor Breed for quickly stepping up to enact an emergency moratorium on commercial evictions. We will also continue to pursue state legislation so that we’re confronting this problem from all angles.”
“Mayor Breed and our state leaders have delivered a crucial lifeline to our small businesses and the employees who depend on them,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Our neighborhood businesses and their workforce are critical to the culture, economy and vibrancy of San Francisco and we will continue to roll out programs that support the economic infrastructure of our city during this time of extreme need.”
“As a business owner in Chinatown, I am concerned of the survival of my business due to the COVID-19. We’re are feeling the impacts and I fully support the City’s moratorium of business evictions during this challenging time. This will alleviate one of the many financial pressures we are facing as we work to stay afloat,” said Emmy Yu, owner of Dee Dee Boutique.
“As a result of the public health order I had to close my salon immediately and have no other source of income. I depend on my daily bookings to make the rent every month and at this point I would not be able to pay April’s rent. A moratorium on evictions would allow me the time to recover, bounce back, and keep my business open,” said Dimitri Cornet, owner of Werk Salon.
“The measure of protecting businesses from being evicted is perfect because it gives us relief right now. This is going to help me get on with my more than 20-year-old business in the community,” said Cesar Ogaya, owner of Native Forever on 24th Street.
The Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco has issued a Public Health Order requiring that residents stay in their homes, with few exceptions, through April 7, 2020. This order is designed to protect community health by slowing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. These are systemic as well as individual changes that will make a difference in people’s lives.
Even people engaged in the essential activities described in the order must practice the following to avoid getting sick and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when on essential outings such as grocery shopping, riding public transit to an essential job, or walking your dog.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Cover your cough or sneeze.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Do not shake hands.
• Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.
Stay home altogether if you are sick, 60+ years of age, and/or have certain underlying health conditions. Make sure you have a supply of essential medications for your family. Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself. Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.
There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick. If you are sick, first call your health care provider; if you must leave your home to seek medical treatment, you may wear a mask or similar personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent spreading illness to others.
Find the answers to frequently asked questions about the order at SF.gov/coronavirus.
Other Public Health Orders and recommendations from DPH can be found at sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp. Mayoral declarations regarding COVID-19 can be found at sfmayor.org/mayoral-declarations-regarding-covid-19.
For more information, you can also call 311, and for official updates, sign up for the City’s alert service: text COVID19SF to 888-777.