San Francisco's Board of Supervisors have proposed a package of legislation that is aimed at helping workers, renters, and small businesses who may be affected by the economic downturn linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
We still haven't seen the worst of what's to come as social-distancing orders and general fear bring the city to a grinding halt — or, at least, to a far slower pace of life and commerce. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce says that some businesses are already reporting 50- to 70-percent drops in revenue so far this month, as the SF Business Times reports. And work-from-home orders by countless companies with downtown SF offices mean that businesses that typically serve those workers are going to suffer greatly.
In response, the SF Board of Supervisors wants to do what it can, and that means a legislative package announced Tuesday that include a small business rent stabilization loan, protections for renters facing eviction, and a new hotline for workers to help them understand their rights.
Supervisor Dean Preston already put out a call last week for landlords to stop eviction proceedings during the virus crisis. And now, per the Business Times, he's drafted an ordinance that would ban a variety of "no fault" evictions — such as Ellis Act, owner-move in, and capital improvement evictions — as well as evictions related to non-payment of rent linked to coronavirus impacts.
Supervisor Gordon Mar is talking about expanding paid leave for workers, so that workers do not have to use limited sick time to comply with stay-at-home orders. And he's proposing an ordinance to have Office of Labor Standards Enforcement create a "multilingual workers rights hotline" to help workers better understand their rights during this crisis.
And Supervisor Hillary Ronen tells the Business Times she's working on an ordinance that would have the city taking out a $20 million line of credit from a bank that it could then turn into no-interest loans for small businesses in danger of closing due to the downturn.
Meanwhile, Mayor Breed has some proposals of her own that she says can be enacted faster than the Board's efforts. These reportedly include an eviction moratorium for renters, and a delay for business tax payments.
Similar things are going to be happening across the country in terms of service-industry workers, small businesses and the impacts of social distancing. As Grub Street writes today, the fears are already widespread in the restaurant community in New York City — and that is a city where hospitality workers are not guaranteed healthcare, and many don't have it.
Photo: Francisco Delgado