We have reproduced this newsletter from Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Office in its entirely. The original is here: https://bit.ly/2WXjGtH

It’s no secret by now that small businesses are the beating hearts of our neighborhoods. That’s why over the past few years, my office has gone the extra mile to protect them against all odds.

I’ve budgeted millions to help them withstand massive construction projects like the Van Ness Improvement Project and Chinatown Subway. It’s why I authored and passed a ballot measure to fill vacant storefronts and give small businesses more leverage to negotiate fair leases. It’s why I’ve personally nominated over 35 District 3 businesses to the Legacy Business Registry  — more than any other District! — and passed legislation to help prevent their displacement.

The odds have rarely if ever been more severe. Small businesses were struggling before the novel coronavirus changed the world we live in, and I remain as committed as ever to helping them through this crisis. The biggest challenge bookstores, restaurants, retailers, and artists have faced in recent memory is at hand.

As soon as coronavirus arrived, the City began putting in place measures to help. We immediately deferred business taxes and licensing fees and dedicated $1 million to a disaster relief fund (a drop in the bucket, but a starting point nevertheless). The State gave us emergency authority to put in place residential and commercial eviction moratoriums, and we’ve seized that opportunity to protect businesses and the workforce. There’s relief on the way for artists and arts organizations.

And there’s more to come. Read on for a list of resources specifically geared toward helping small businesses and artists stay afloat during this crisis – and stay tuned for further developments. Together, we’re gonna get through this.



City-funded Extensions of Employee Paid Sick Leave

The city’s Workers and Families First Program will 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.

All San Francisco businesses are eligible. The City has provided that 20 percent of funds are reserved for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Click here to see if you’re eligible and click here to apply.


The COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund allows impacted small business owners to access up to $10,000 for employee salaries and rent. This program is administered in partnership with Northeast Community Federal Credit Union.

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Businesses Resiliency Fund, small businesses must:
Have at least 1 employee and no more than 5 employees
Demonstrate a loss of revenue of 25% or more
Have less than $2,500,000 in gross receipts
Be engaged in activities that are regulated by the City and County of San Francisco and have a license/permit associated to that regulation.


The City has ordered a moratorium prohibiting commercial and residential evictions due to nonpayment until at least April 15th. The temporary prohibition is aimed at stabilizing small- to medium-sized businesses (those with less than $25 million in gross receipts) and residents impacted by COVID-19. For more information, visit the Mayor’s Press Releases here and here.

If you are a resident seeking to avail yourself of the eviction moratorium, find guidance for tenants here.

If you have questions about any of the above, do not hesitate to reply to this email or reach out to my staff, and we’ll respond accordingly or put you in touch with the best available resource.


Cities cannot do this on their own, and we’re working to understand specifics of the relief that may be afforded to small businesses in a federal stimulus package.

So far, we understand that the $2 trillion stimulus package, which was passed by the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House, would offer multiple potential relief options for small business owners. A $10 billion Emergency Grant Fund will award $10,000 grants to small businesses that have applied for economic injury disaster loans so that they can offer paid sick leave or maintain payroll for workers, or to cover production costs or pay business obligations like rent and mortgage payments. Those grants would not need to be repaid.

The second component is the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion fund that will provide eight weeks of assistance to small businesses that maintain their payroll during the emergency. The loans would be available to companies with 500 or fewer employees, and would include nonprofits, self-employed people, and hotel and restaurant chains with up to 500 workers per location. If the companies maintain payroll for the eight-week period, those loans would be forgiven.

And the third piece of the bill would drastically overhaul the eligibility requirements for Unemployment Insurance, which would expand benefits to gig workers, the self-employed, and workers who may be furloughed but are still receiving health insurance from their employers. There would also be a $600 increase to the weekly benefit for four months.

As City partners continue to decipher this unprecedented federal stimulus package, we’ll continue to urge that these resources come online quickly and are easy to apply for.


Lower Polk CBD Tenant-Landlord Clinic: Since 2017, my office has funded a resource clinic and Conflict Intervention Service to help provide tenants with counseling and mediation services with their landlords. Their resources are more important than ever, and they are ramping up to provide assistance to any resident or business owner that reaches out. Visit lptlc.org/covid for more information.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development provides a helpful list of programs and relief options for businesses affected by COVID-19.

The San Francisco Office of Small Business is closed, but staff are handling inquiries by phone and email: sfosb@sfgov.org, or (415) 554-6134. For multilingual assistance in Cantonese call (415) 554-6407.

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has a COVID-19 page with answers to common questions, lists of resources, and links to more information.

The California Treasurer’s Office has an Emergency Small Business Resource List.

The State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) has a resource page for employers and workers.

Bradley Platz and Kim Larson, co-owners of Modern Eden Gallery, display their Certificates of Honor presented by staffer Geri Koeppel at the gallery’s grand re-opening on 1100 Sutter St. earlier this month.


The city’s Arts Relief Program includes $1.5 million in grants for working artists and arts organizations and $1 million in loans for small- to mid-budget sized arts and cultural organizations.

Visit the Center for Cultural Innovation to apply online for grants of up to $2,000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations. Visit the Arts Loan Fund to apply for loans of up to $50,000 at 2.5 percent interest. Please be sure to read all of the criteria before applying.

The Center for Cultural Innovation also lists other Emergency Resources for Artists and Freelancers. This is an extensive list that covers not just visual artists but authors and freelance writers, musicians, theater performers, dancers and others. It also includes links to help for undocumented residents, banks offering assistance, government agencies and much more in San Francisco and beyond. Please share this!


My office has been hearing from self-employed people who can’t get unemployment and are worried most of the relief packages haven’t yet covered them.

The newly announced federal stimulus package includes specific relief for San Francisco as well as for artists, arts organizations, independent contractors and gig workers. Here are a few links to more information:

  • Fortune: “How small business owners and the self-employed can take advantage of the coronavirus stimulus package”
  • NPR: “Stimulus Package Includes Millions for the Arts”
  • The New York Times: “Arts Groups, Facing Their Own Crisis, Get a Piece of the Stimulus”
As details become available, the Board of Supervisors will work on local policies to address gaps that might still exist between the federal, state, and local measures that have already been announced, are in progress, or have been implemented.
So, to our artists and performers, hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists and acupuncturists, bookkeepers and personal assistants, pet sitters and house cleaners, taxi drivers and food delivery people, and the many, many more sole proprietors who improve our lives on many levels, we are thinking of you and working on ways to help.


Many local businesses have set up campaigns to pay workers, extend health care to workers and/or be able to reopen their doors when it’s safe and allowed. I’m confident at least one of the below businesses has provided you with a sense of joy and comfort over the past several years. Please do what you can to reciprocate in this time of enormous need:
Here are more ways to support local artists, art organizations and businesses:
  • 48 Hills’ roundup of links gives ways to help local artists, workers and small businesses out of work because of the shutdown.
  • Goldstar has a section for online donations to dozens of arts groups and venues, from Aquarium of the Bay to the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
  • The Show Must Go On is a public Facebook group featuring a collective of Bay Area community organizers and music industry professionals working to create an intimate streaming concert/variety series to promote connection and healing through art. They’re seeking financial sponsors, influencers and more.

Speaking of food, North Beach institution Tosca opened under new management this week (yes, this week!) for takeout through online pickup and delivery site Tock.They’re serving family-style meals for $24 and wine to-go. Welcome back, Tosca!

Please let us know if you hear of any other businesses seeking support, and if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 and its ramifications, please email peskinstaff@sfgov.org or call 415-455-7450. Thank you, and stay safe!