Small Business COVID-19 Webinar


Small businesses are facing significant impacts during the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor London Breed and members of San Francisco’s small business community hosted a webinar to discuss the City’s response to COVID-19.

Get updates and information on small business support, the latest regarding the Stay Home Public Health Order, and the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force. 

Panelists include:

  • Cynthia Huie, Small Business Commissioner
  • Rodney Fong, President & CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce 
  • Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Answers to Questions

For those who submitted questions in advance, we have provided answers to those questions below. If you had a question that was not answered below, please feel free to reach out to our Office of Neighborhood Services by emailing

Please note: these responses are as of May 4, 2020; you should check for the latest up-to-date information.

Will there be any additional funding resources for small businesses in San Francisco?

We are working hard to develop additional local resources. These efforts include raising philanthropic funding that can be distributed to small businesses through Give2SF, advocating for more state and federal funding, and continuing to extend the commercial eviction moratorium.

New federal legislation was finalized on April 24, 2020 that reopened the PPP and EIDL programs after a week-long closure. If you need assistance applying for these federal programs, contact our Office of Small Business at 415-554-6134 or

There are a number of non-City, external resources including grants, micro-loans, and crowdfunding campaigns. You can find more information on those resources here.

Can my landlord still charge rent on my commercial space?

The City has ordered a moratorium prohibiting commercial evictions because of nonpayment due to COVID-19. This applies to any rent that was due from March 17, 2020 to June 16, 2020 and this may be extended. This does not waive the obligation to pay this missed rent.

If you’re unable to pay your rent, your landlord may not evict for nonpayment of rent due during the moratorium without first providing you a written notice, and at least 30 days from the date of the notice to pay rent. If you’re unable to pay because of COVID-19 and have not yet agreed to a payment plan with your landlord, you can get a 30-day extension by providing documentation, including a letter, email, or other written communication to the landlord that explains the financial impact you are experiencing. Your explanation should be objectively verifiable.

You can get more detailed guidance here.

How is the City working to address the projected budget shortfall and economic impact?

While from Day One we have focused on confronting this public health emergency, we have also been taking a significant economic hit at the same time. With over 100,000 San Franciscans applying for unemployment and an uncertain timeline for recovery, we are in for a long, hard road. This is going to require a lot of tough choices and creative solutions.

The City has delayed its budget process given the public health emergency. The Mayor’s Office will issue revised budget instructions to departments the week of May 18th, and by June 1st, the Mayor will introduce a balanced interim budget at the Board of Supervisors. This will be followed by a proposed balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors by August 1st. The Board will review, amend, and adopt that proposed budget by September 30th.

Mayor Breed has also convened a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force to guide the City’s efforts. We are focused on sustaining and reviving local businesses and employment, mitigating the economic hardships already affecting the most vulnerable San Franciscans, and building a resilient and equitable future. While we work on this, we’d love to get the public’s input on how the City can best support business now and as we recover over the long term. Please feel free to take our survey here.

As reopening and recovery efforts begin, what criteria will public health officials rely on?

San Francisco is coordinating closely with the State and our Bay Area County Health officers around reopenings and how and when to lift restrictions and ultimately the Stay Home order. We will continue to make decisions based on public health and the safety of our community. Easing the Stay Home order will be a gradual process, and we will continue to base our decisions on data. We will be relying on several indicators to assess our progress and ensure that we have the strategies and infrastructure in place to contain and take care of COVID-19 patients.

The indicators are outlined in the Public Health Order (page 7). They include monitoring key data such as the total number of cases in the community, number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, sufficient testing capacity, and supplies of PPE.

Mayor Breed launched the COVID-19 Data Tracker to monitor these key indicators. You can view the Data Tracker here.

How are we expanding testing capacity?

Every day we are working on ramping up our testing capacity for more and more individuals. Recently, Mayor Breed announced that the CityTest SF program will now be available to all essential employees and we will begin proactively testing asymptomatic individuals in some of the hardest hit parts of the City. You can learn more here.

While we work to ramp up our testing capacity, we still aren’t able to provide universal testing yet. We wish we were. Mayor Breed is abiding by public health guidance in how best to use our limited tests.

Are City services like street cleaning and sanitizing public spaces still ongoing?

San Francisco Public Works is focused on providing essential street cleaning and sanitation needs. The mechanical street sweeping program is operating under its regular schedule to help keep the streets clean and leaves and litter out of the storm drains. Street cleaning operations are an essential service, with health and safety concerns prioritized. Crews continue to be on the ground 24/7. You can find more information on San Francisco Public Works’ website here, including details on other essential services.

What is the City doing to address homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic?

Throughout the Shelter in Place order, our unsheltered neighbors have posed a unique challenge. Mayor Breed has been working with other City partners to secure hotel rooms for vulnerable members of our unsheltered community, to test all of those exposed in our shelter system, and to ensure that those still living on the street have access to personal hygiene products and are abiding by social distancing requirements. Starting the week of May 11, a Safe Sleeping Village will also be established outside of the Asian Art Museum where tents will be able to socially distance and we will work to get these individuals the support they need. 

In accordance with CDC guidance, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is not currently accepting new clients at the shelters across our City.

Our Homeless Outreach Team is still conducting outreach to individuals living unsheltered on our streets, but is currently unable to resolve encampments because they are unable to provide housing to these individuals at this time. Therefore, the outreach teams are prioritizing conducting wellness checks and symptom screenings, providing access to health care, information/education about COVID, encouraging social distancing, and passing out hygiene materials.

How can we donate goods or services, including personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks?

Please visit this website for information on how to donate funds, and materials support the City’s efforts to keep this virus under control. For volunteer opportunities, please check out this website.