Some 300 San Francisco music venues, bars, and nightclubs will get their local taxes and fees waived in hopes of helping them survive the pandemic.
The “yellow tier” privileges are set to kick in for bars and breweries in “mid-November,” as those establishments will be allowed to reopen for outdoor booze service with no food requirement. That’s still likely to represent a tiny percentage of their normal revenue, and that timing is a little less-than-outstanding for outdoor drinking, as mid-November is when we’re usually entering terrible weather season. And save for a few small-ish outdoor performances and online shows, there will still be little possibility for live entertainment, and venue operators expect that “nightlife” as we used to know it will not return until 2021 at the earliest.
Hoping to help those venues hang in there, San Francisco will be waiving $2.5 million in fees and taxes for nightlife and entertainment businesses, according to KRON4.
Entertainment and nightlife are such an important part of why people live in and visit SF, but many of these venues have been unable to open due to COVID-19 & need assistance now. We're providing $2.5M in fee & tax waivers to support these businesses. https://t.co/QT53l95w7I— London Breed (@LondonBreed) October 26, 2020
Mayor London Breed announced the move Monday morning, as seen above. “We need to do more to support those businesses that contribute to San Francisco’s unique and vibrant culture,” she added in a statement to the Chronicle. “Entertainment and nightlife are such an important part of why people live and visit our city, and we hope these additional fee waivers reduce some of the financial stress they’re experiencing.”
The SF Examiner unpacks the details to find this break will be available to about 300 businesses citywide. They need to have less than $20 million in gross receipts to qualify (not difficult in a year like this!), and it basically waives their local payroll taxes, and eliminates various regulatory license and registration fees within the city.
San Francisco Entertainment Commission president Ben Bleiman said in a statement to the Examiner that such venues are “a large part of the reason people flock to San Francisco and rave about our culture,” and that “We must do all we can to support these businesses, so that we have places to be able to come together once we’re able to come together again.”
A total of $2.5 million doesn’t sound like much, given that many of these venues simply have not been able to operate in any capacity since March. But breaking it down by average, a $2.5 million tax break spread across 300 businesses would be a median savings of $8,333. That’s probably not going to “save” an otherwise failing venue, but it’s a decent little break that will hopefully help keep several of them alive and kicking.
Related: SF Nightlife Operators Look Ahead to Outdoor Shows, Local Acts, and Telling Unmasked People to 'Get the F**k Out'
Image: SF Oasis via Facebook