Mayor London Breed and Board President Norman Yee Convene COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force
Task Force will create an economic recovery strategy to support San Francisco businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and individuals during and after the COVID-19 crisis
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee today announced the creation of a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force. The Task Force is charged with guiding the City’s efforts to sustain and recover local businesses and employment, and mitigate the economic hardships that are already affecting the most vulnerable San Franciscans. Their work will support San Francisco organizations and individuals throughout the remainder of the Shelter-in-Place Order, and will lay the groundwork for economic recovery once the City has made meaningful progress containing COVID-19.
The Task Force will be co-chaired by Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, Treasurer José Cisneros, Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council. Membership will include a broad range of stakeholders across businesses, labor, nonprofits, community-based organizations, faith organizations, the arts, and City departments. The Task Force will be staffed by the City Administrator’s Office of Resilience and Capital Planning and supported by the Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
“We are doing all we can to protect the public health and slow the spread of COVID-19 in San Francisco, but we know there are many businesses, organizations, and employees suffering from the economic consequences of this virus,” said Mayor Breed. “As our frontline health care workers, first responders, and public health experts are working day and night to keep us safe, we are looking for ways to keep businesses and organizations afloat and prepare San Francisco for recovery. We need to figure out how to support people during the duration of the pandemic and have a plan in place for how we’re going to bounce back, and this Task Force will help us get there.”
“While we are still in the thick of responding to this health emergency, we simply cannot afford to wait in preparing for what we know will be a difficult recovery,” said Supervisor Norman Yee, President of the Board of Supervisors. “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. We will need the best thinking of a diverse coalition of partners and innovative solutions to address an unprecedented challenge. This global outbreak has changed our world and how we function in it—it is up to us to ensure that we come out of this crisis with a renewed sense of hope and a new vision for San Francisco so we can change the world for the better.”
The economic impacts of COVID-19 are already being felt in San Francisco. On Tuesday, March 31, Mayor Breed announced significant projected budget impacts as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The City’s Joint Report Update estimates that the deficit for the upcoming two-year budget from earlier this year, will increase to between $1.1 to $1.7 billion driven by revenue shortfalls. In the month of March, the City received 77 notices of businesses laying off workers, totaling 5,676 employees. Claims for Unemployment Insurance have skyrocketed across California, with a 363% increase in unemployment insurance claims processed for the week of March 16th, 2020 compared to the same week in 2019. In addition to the thousands of San Franciscans without jobs, individuals and families who fall ill and require hospitalization may face severe economic hardship and require additional assistance during and after the pandemic.
The Task Force will be guided by the following economic recovery priorities:
- Support small- and medium-sized businesses: Small and medium sized businesses and nonprofits are significant cultural and economic drivers for San Francisco. Support is needed to help businesses and community organizations manage temporary closures, revenue drops, or increased need for services.
- Prioritize vulnerable people: San Francisco will prioritize, design, and implement programs and policies to create more equitable and just outcomes for the most vulnerable populations.
- Support local arts and culture: San Francisco must sustain the individuals, organizations, and businesses that contribute to San Francisco’s unique character that may not be able to operate per public health guidance.
- San Francisco is part of a global economy: Many San Francisco-based businesses depend on access to a supply chain or market that extends beyond the region as well as tourism. San Francisco must consider the recovery of global trade, travel, and impacted sectors, businesses, and workers.
- Complement Federal and State efforts: Significant resources for small businesses and vulnerable populations will flow from the Federal and State governments. It is important that San Francisco understand the funds, programs, and other stimulus programs and direct local dollars to fill the gaps.
- Connect San Franciscans to jobs: Work is the foundation to housing and food security, health care, and psychological wellbeing for individuals and families. San Francisco must help connect workers who have been laid-off with employment, with a focus on positions with upward mobility and protecting worker safety.
“The public health crisis is far from over but we already know the economic toll has been devastating,” said Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu. “I’ve seen our City recover through the Dot Com bust and the Great Recession but this is at a scale most of us haven’t seen before. It’s frightening. That’s why we all need to roll up our sleeves now to help our workers and our families get back up on their feet.”
“Even as we join together to respond this public health crisis, it’s critical that we begin to address the severe economic consequences for our local workers and small businesses,” said Treasurer José Cisneros. “I applaud Mayor Breed and President Yee for their foresight in convening this Task Force and I look forward to the challenging task of laying the groundwork for quick recovery.”
“The entire business community thanks Mayor London Breed and Board President Norman Yee for their foresight and leadership in forming this Task Force,” said Rodney Fong, President and CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “If we want our small businesses and working families to recover tomorrow, then we must start planning today. San Franciscans want to get back to work. Thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans are depending on this planning to ensure that San Francisco’s economic recovery is strong, swift, prudent, and reliable.”
“San Francisco has led the State in our collective response to this crisis and by launching the task force now, we will also lead the recovery effort,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council. “It is in the DNA of this City to rise up and emerge stronger when the chips are down/disaster strikes. Our strong economic recovery in the City will have a ripple effect for working class people and our collaboration at this time is prudent and necessary.”
The Task Force will begin meeting next week and continue through June 30 to develop short-, medium- and long-term strategy recommendations. Members of the public are invited to share their ideas for economic recovery by visiting www.onesanfrancisco.org.