After an early morning blaze severely damaged four businesses Saturday in the Castro, social media was quick responding to the crisis, offering support and calls for help. Now, the city appears to offering a helping hand, as well.
On Saturday, Mayor London Breed encouraged the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to initiate the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund, which would help the recovery efforts for four of the affected businesses, according to Bay City News. As of now, Q Bar, Osaka Sushi, Cafe Mystique, and a clothing shop called Body are all eligible to receive as much as $10,000 from the city to help with repairs caused by smoke and water damage sustained from first responders putting out the inferno on the upper stories.
The funds – once released after an application is successfully approved – can be used immediately to also replace less tangible assets as well, such as security deposits for new leases, employee wages, and other means to help balance-out cash flow.
“Our small businesses are the anchors of our merchant corridors and it is critical that our merchants receive the support and help necessary to recover and restore services to the community quickly,” Breed said in a statement published by the news outlet. “The city family is here to provide more than financial support; we will also help to provide technical assistance with permitting so these small businesses can reopen as quickly as possible.”
Aside from the city's well-meaning financial olive branches, social media came alive with requests for aid and assistance for the shops affected ... particularly Q Bar, the beloved queer hub at 456 Castro Street.
"If [you] have or know of [any place] hiring bar staff (bartenders, barbacks, promoters, GoGo dancers etc) please let someone from [the QBarSF] and me know," one Omar Carmical writes on Facebook. The owner of the LGBTQ+ watering hole, Cip Cipriano, penned a long post on the aforementioned platform, thankful for the fact that none of the bar staff – some of which are his "closest friends "– had already left for the night; no one at Q Bar was among the two injured.
We can only speculate that staff at the other three establishments might be in need of some work, as well, until repairs have been made to those structures. For humans in the exultant position to hire service and garment industry workers, take note – and, perhaps, help a neighbor out, if they're so qualified.
For businesses affected by Saturday's hellish event, you can find more information about the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund at oewd.org/disaster-relief.
The cause of the fire – which displaced some thirteen people and injured two – is still under investigation.
Image: Instagram via @welcomebackotter