Frustrated Small Business Owners in SF Take to City Hall, Demand City Take Action

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Weathering the storm is nothing new for business owners in San Francisco, but some feel that 2021 is already producing a cloudy outlook.

I’ve been open two months out of this whole pandemic,” said barbershop owner Shorty Maniace. “My employees have to get EDD. I’ve had to furlough twice.”

With the city’s stay-at-home order extended indefinitely, some business owners voiced their frustration on the steps of City Hall Monday.

“Our employees are just frustrated, not knowing when they are going to pay their bills or come back to work,” said restaurant owner Megan Cornelius.

She protested alongside fellow business owners, calling for more action by the city.

“A little more assistance from the city. We’re OK with being closed if you can just pay everybody to stay closed,” she said.

And with the city not providing a specific timeline for reopening, “I think we’re clamping down too hard,” said Dr. Monica Ghandi with UCSF.

She said she sees a downside of shutting down outdoor business, adding that the data that outdoor dining leads to surges in COVID-19 cases is fairly limited.

She instead hopes city leaders will provide benchmarks for reopening to prevent business owners from losing hope.

“Telling people what they can do instead of what they can’t do will give people just some sort of off valve to stick with these shutdowns until the surge comes down,” said Gandhi.

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