The city of San Francisco is establishing a $10 million emergency relief fund that will extend interest-free loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses in crisis during the coronavirus shelter-in-place period.
The new fund, spearheaded by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, will reserve $9 million for these emergency loans — with flexible repayment terms — and add an additional $1 million to the already established COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. The latter, as KTVU reports, has already received more than 2,000 aid applications since March 10. A new application form for the no-interest loans will be made available next week.
"The shelter-in-place order — while absolutely essential for public health — has businesses scrambling to figure out how to stay afloat," Ronen said in a statement. "San Francisco small businesses employ hundreds of thousands of workers. They are the lifeblood of our economy and the soul of our neighborhoods. We can’t let them go under."
For businesses with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales, state-sponsored, interest-free "bridge loans" of up to $50,000 are available in California. Additionally, businesses may apply for loans from the federal Small Business Administration, under the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
As the SF Business Times reports, the city is also establishing a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force that will be chaired by "city and business community stakeholders, and its membership will represent businesses, labor, nonprofit, faith and arts organizations."
Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee said in a joint statement with the mayor's office Thursday, "The socioeconomic impacts of this virus will be long-lasting, but by taking swift action with a comprehensive relief, reform, and recovery strategy, we can support getting our families, workers, businesses, and nonprofits back on their feet sooner." Yee said the plan for the task force is to gather the "best thinking of a diverse coalition of partners and innovative solutions to address an unprecedented challenge," and "create more equitable and just outcomes for the most vulnerable populations."
Per the Business Times, the new task force will be co-chaired by Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, Treasurer José Cisneros, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rodney Fong, and Rudy Gonzalez, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council.
In a tweet, Chu said, "We must start planning now to help working families back up on their feet."
@LondonBreed & @NormanYeeSF asked me to co-chair economic recovery for sf. The public health crisis is far from over but we already know the economic toll is devastating & at a scale we haven’t seen before. We must start planning now to help working families back up on their feet— Carmen Chu (@CarmenChuSF) April 2, 2020