Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and Mayor London Breed have convened an economic recovery task force. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco launches coronavirus economic recovery task force

Upwards of 5,600 employees in San Francisco were laid off in March

San Francisco has established an economic recovery task force to plan a response to the steep and immediate budget revenue losses caused by coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee convened the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force to create a strategy to cope with the sudden loss in business and jobs during the shelter-in-place.

At least 5,676 employees in San Francisco were laid off in March, by the City’s tally. Since March 13, 1.6 million Californians have filed unemployment claims and continue to reach new records.

The City is expected to lose up to $288 million in the current fiscal year, which ends in June, and up to $1.7 billion total through 2022. Breed directed spending to be curbed immediately and told city departments to plan for future reductions.

“While we are still in the thick of responding to this health emergency, we simply cannot afford to wait in preparing for what we know will be a difficult recovery,” Yee said. “The socioeconomic impacts of this virus will be long-lasting, but by taking swift action with a comprehensive relief, reform, and recovery strategy, we can support getting our families, workers, businesses, and nonprofits back on their feet sooner.”

Outlined priorities include equity for vulnerable populations, supporting small-to-medium businesses and nonprofits, sustaining groups and businesses contributing to arts and culture, filling in gaps from federal and state assistance, connecting workers to jobs, and keeping in mind the global economy’s impact on tourism and supply chains for San Francisco.

Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, Treasurer Jose Cisneros, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President Rodney Fong, and San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Rudy Gonzalez will co-chair the task force. Other representatives of business, nonprofits, community organizations, labor, arts and city departments will also be members.

“The public health crisis is far from over but we already know the economic toll has been devastating,” Chu said. “I’ve seen our City recover through the Dot Com bust and the Great Recession but this is at a scale most of us haven’t seen before. It’s frightening. That’s why we all need to roll up our sleeves now to help our workers and our families get back up on their feet.”

The City Administrator’s Office of Resilience and Capital Planning will staff the task force, with support from the Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis and Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

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