Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer won unanimous City Council approval on Aug. 4 for two measures that will offer greater opportunity for small and disadvantaged businesses to stay in business and follow public health orders during these difficult times.
Together these measures aim to reactivate the local economy safely and inclusively by allowing more business owners affected by the state’s indoor activity restrictions to operate outdoors while also specifically allocating funding to support historically underserved businesses hit hardest during this pandemic.
“Mom-and-pop shops, especially in communities of concern, are struggling to keep up with changing rules despite doing everything they can just to survive this economic crisis,” Faulconer said. “Whether it’s allowing a barber to set up shop in a parking lot or providing a grant that helps a restaurant make payroll, we know small changes can make a big difference between closing for now or closing for good.”
EXPANDING OUTDOOR BUSINESS
The first measure cemented Faulconer’s executive order allowing businesses – including gyms, churches, barbershops, nail salons – to expand their operations into private parking lots, sidewalks and on-street parking. As public health experts continue to promote outdoor settings and physical distancing as two key tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19, this measure provides an innovative solution to allow more business to operate safely.
“This emergency ordinance will allow barbershops, hair salons, gyms, fitness centers, and faith-based groups to bring their operations outside. I am honored to co-sponsor creative solutions like this which will help businesses get back up and running in a safe manner. Employees can return to work and families can again participate in programs and support our businesses, if they so desire,” said City Councilmember Chris Cate, chair of the Council’s Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
The ordinance now allows the following services to operate on private parking lots, sidewalks and on-street parking:
Personal services: hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and massage establishments;
Gyms, physical fitness centers, and instructional studios;
Places of religious assembly.
INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The second measure paves the way for a nonprofit partnership to be formed to connect businesses facing increased barriers to economic relief. It reallocates $700,000 from the City’s Small Business Relief Fund toward helping businesses in historically underserved communities through direct grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, specialized outreach, and technical assistance. To help promote inclusive economic recovery efforts in the wake of COVID-19 throughout the county, Faulconer issued a challenge to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to match the City’s commitment.
Businesses operating in economically vulnerable and historically underserved communities, including the Promise Zone, Opportunity Zone, Low- & Moderate-Income Census Tracts and other economic corridors have been most impacted by COVID-19. With half of the federal CARES Act funding made available in the $20 million relief fund going toward underserved areas, Tuesday’s action solidifies the City’s commitment to ensuring an inclusive approach to recovery. To date, the Small Business Relief Fund has provided assistance to more than 1,200 businesses.
To be eligible for grant assistance through the SBRF, business owners must:
Be self-employed, an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a corporation with revenues less than $100,000;
Have 10 or fewer employees;
Document a decline in revenue due to COVID-19.
“I am thrilled that my Council colleagues voted for this much-needed small business relief package for our communities of concern. Data has shown that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown people,” said City Councilmember Monica Montgomery. “This funding is a step in the right direction as an investment into helping historically underserved communities of color."
For information regarding economic relief or for outdoor business requirements and how to apply for a permit, visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.