August 31, 2020
Face shields, masks, and sanitizers from the State will be distributed to thousands of small businesses and their workers in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, today announced the delivery of over one million surgical masks, 600,000 face shields, and 150,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for distribution to businesses and workers in the city’s most vulnerable communities, including in the Mission, Bayview and Chinatown. The shipment of 360 pallets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comes as San Francisco prepares to launch a public awareness campaign to remind and encourage people to wear face coverings in advance of the Labor Day weekend.
Today, Mayor Breed joined the Latino Task Force and Calle 24 in the Mission to distribute PPE from the Latino Task Force Resource Hub.
“Reopening safely is critical for our City’s health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that using PPE like face coverings and following good hygiene practices are what will allow us to safely reopen and get businesses back on their feet,” said Mayor Breed. “Small businesses all over our city have been hit-hard financially, and for those businesses that have been able to stay open or will soon reopen, figuring out how to safely operate a business during a global pandemic is hard work. We hope this distribution of PPE will relieve some of the stress we know business owners are feeling, ensure they have the necessary equipment to protect their employees and customers, and will give them one less thing to worry about.”
“For our small businesses looking to reopen outdoors this week, including hair salons and barber shops, we’re going to where the need is, getting free personal protective equipment directly to our small businesses in underserved corridors and protecting workers and those they serve against COVID-19,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Together with the State and community partners in neighborhoods across the city, we’re relieving our hardworking San Francisco small businesses of one more pressure as they push our city towards recovery and safely get their business and their workers back to work.”
“Facial coverings are a critical part of COVID-19 prevention,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “Recent research indicates that if 80% of a population is regularly and properly using face coverings, we can prevent outbreaks of COVID-19. This PPE delivery ensures facial coverings are more accessible to the essential workers who continue to serve us and to the small businesses that are taking preventive steps to protect employees, customers and communities.”
“Today’s announcement is a win for workers, customers, and businesses. San Franciscans have been coming together to do right by our workers and each other. We’ve been wearing masks and taking precautions. This latest program makes vital sanitation and protective masks available to businesses so we can keep on opening safely,” said Assessor Carmen Chu, Co-Chair of the Economic Recovery Task Force.
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) is working in collaboration with community-based organizations to distribute a month’s supply of PPE to local businesses that are open or will reopen in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. The PPE distributed will include surgical masks, face shields, and hand sanitizer. The City’s goal is to save businesses the time and expense of procuring this PPE, and to help them focus and prepare for safer operations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought extreme hardship to small businesses, especially those in our underserved communities, yet these dedicated entrepreneurs are determined to survive and committed to creating safe environments for their employees and customers,” said Isabel Guzman, California’s Small Business Advocate. “The California Office of the Small Business Advocate and the California Office of Emergency Services is proud to partner with the City and County of San Francisco and their nonprofit partners to get personal protective equipment quickly into the hands of our small business owners so that the Main Streets that define our neighborhoods can operate safely.”
OEWD developed an equitable distribution plan of the PPE based on the following priorities:
- Business located in Opportunity Neighborhoods;
- Low-income businesses and those with barriers to access PPE;
- Small businesses with high volumes of visitors and clients;
- Small businesses with high touch and interactions with the public.
More than 25 community partners responded to a survey about the need for PPE among thousands of businesses and organizations in their neighborhoods. The community partners have offered to pick-up and distribute the PPE to local businesses citywide including within the Bayview, Castro/Upper Market, Chinatown, Excelsior and Outer Mission, Japantown, Mission, Ocean View, Merced Heights and Ingleside, Richmond, Sunset, Portola, Visitacion Valley, SoMa, Parkside, Tenderloin and Lower Polk, Treasure Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 neighborhoods. Goodwill Industries and the SF Market are also supporting PPE distribution to local small businesses and their workers. The partners are also set up with staff to provide multi-language outreach in monolingual communities.
“Protecting our workers is essential and supporting our small businesses is needed now more than ever. This distribution of PPE will help achieve both goals and help ensure that we continue to help lower the spread of COVID-19,” said Jon Jocobo, Small Business Committee Chair of the Latino Task Force Member and serves as Vice President and council member of the Calle 24 Cultural District.
“This is a unique time where we’re challenged to ensure our local businesses, workers, and customers are kept safe while keeping them open and operating through this pandemic. We are grateful to the City for the supplies and their timely response to the needs of our community. Not only does this send an important message that we’re all working together, but it also assures the Black community that our voices are being heard. Historically, our community has not been heard and this is an important step to ensure we’re working toward change in solidarity,” said Ericka Scott and Ebon Glenn, Co-Directors of the African-American Arts and Cultural District.
“We’ve been in business for 18 years and my family and I have worked and lived in the Mission all our lives. This community is our home. Running a business isn’t easy and it was made more difficult during this pandemic, but we are still here thanks to all our valued customers,” said Elizabeth Vasquez, owner of Tio Chilo’s Grill on 24th Street. “The hand sanitizers and facial masks will allow us to continue to keep us as staff safe while protecting our valued customers as we serve them.”
“We are grateful to the Mayor who understands the importance of having PPEs so that we can overcome this pandemic together. The PPEs for API Council will be directly used by our non-profit organizations providing safety net services to our most vulnerable populations,” said Cally Wong, Director of the API Council.
The procurement, shipment, and distribution of the PPE pallets was made possible through the support and contributions of the San Francisco Port, the Department of Emergency Management and the Emergency Operations Center, the Treasure Island Development Authority, Neighborhood Economic Development Agencies (NEDOs), Main Street Launch, and community-based organizations.
Community partners will have a month to pick up the PPE for distribution to businesses through an organized schedule at an undisclosed storage facility. Local businesses that need PPE may directly reach out to their nearby community-based organization. More information including a list of participating community-based organizations and resources for businesses and workers can be found here oewd.org/PPE.
This press release was produced by the Office of the San Francisco Mayor. The views expressed here are the author’s own.