Mayor London Breed unveiled the budget proposal Tuesday for The City’s COVID-19 response, laying out San Francisco’s plan to fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed budget through next June totaled $446.1 million, funding a range of programs and services from public communications and health operations to housing and food security.
“That’s money that I wish we could divert to other places,” Breed said at a news conference. “Unfortunately, this is the reality of today. And I hope that’s not the reality of our next budget cycle.”
The budget proposal would allocate $184.9 million for health operations, including $55.9 million for testing, $44.2 million for personal protective equipment and $30.3 million for operations of the Department of Public Health.
The proposal includes $61.8 million to fund food security and human services, supporting programs such as Great Plates Delivered SF through September, an emergency food delivery program for older adults, and the expansion of the Pit Stop program through next June, which provides clean and safe public toilets.
Another $16.5 million would be slated for emergency communications and operations at the COVID Command Center and Joint Information Center. The funding will be allocated for temporary staffing budget, maintenance and supplies, along with translation services, among other operations.
The budget proposal would also allocate $182.9 million to housing and shelter programs, including hotels for shelter and quarantine.
Meanwhile, Breed urged San Franciscans to change their behaviors, especially in places like Dolores Park. She said many people have contracted COVID-19 from gatherings.
Despite the lack of federal government response and coordination with state and local officials, “we prepared. We worked hard. We redirected sources. We redirected staff from all over the city. And we adjusted to our situation,” Breed said. “Because of that, San Francisco has been a model for the rest of the country. But I want us to be even better than that. So it’s up to us to change our behavior.”
There are signs of hope, according to Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the Department of Public Health. He said there are 85 new COVID-19 cases daily, a drop from the high point a few weeks ago.
Nonetheless, Colfax noted that cases could increase again. The City has been on the highest level of alert for the past seven weeks. And he reminded people to stay vigilant and wear face masks.
“It’s like remembering your wallet or your key: Remember your mask,” Colfax said at the news conference. “This is a good habit to develop, and a habit that we’re going to need to have with us for some time. My mask protects you, your mask protects me. This is something we can all do, and indeed, [something] we must do for each other.”