San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday signed the city's two-year budget, cementing investments aimed at helping the city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but said the fast spreading delta variant remained worrisome.
The signing ceremony, held at City Hall, comes after the city's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave final approval to this year's $13.1 billion budget and the following year's $12.8 billion budget.
"I'm excited to be signing this two-year budget today after months of hard work from everyone involved. It is something that we should all be proud of," Breed said in a statement. "With these investments, we are addressing our most pressing issues by prioritizing the residents and businesses that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. This budget will lay the groundwork for our city's economy and set San Francisco on a path to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever."
Supervisor Matt Haney, who serves as the board's budget chair said, "This is a recovery budget that will provide critical support for our residents and small businesses who are still struggling due to the impacts of this pandemic. It will launch new innovative approaches and provide historic investments to confront the health, mental health, economic, housing, and safety challenges facing our city."
The two-year budget includes nearly $525 million for the city's COVID-19 response, including initiatives that will aid the city's economic recovery like, among others, a Free Muni for Youth pilot program; programs to address students' learning loss; community ambassadors and initiatives to revive downtown; workforce development programs; waived and reduced fees for businesses; and rental relief funding.
The $525 million investment also includes $378 million for the continuance of the city's COVID-19 shelter response, food security programs, and COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts.
Other investments in the two-year budget include over $1 billion in local, state, and federal resources for homelessness and housing; $300 million in mental health and substance use services; and $60 million for the Dream Keeper Initiative, which reinvests funds in services and programs that uplift the city's African American community.
With the budget now signed and the wheels set in motion for the city's economic recovery, and as schools are set to start in just weeks, Breed said the city is currently looking into possibly reinstating mask mandates for people both vaccinated and unvaccinated in response to the rapid rise of the delta variant.
Additionally, she said, her office is in discussion with the City Attorney's Office over potential "mandatory vaccines for folks who are not necessarily just city employees."