By Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer
I hope you’re all doing your best to stay safe and healthy and support one another during this unprecedented public health crisis. Many in our community are worried and anxious about their health, their loved ones and their household’s economic stability. My staff and I have been working around the clock with our community partners to address emerging needs and to ensure that our district has the infrastructure in place to provide for our most vulnerable neighbors. Our senior congregate meals are now being delivered and/or packaged for take home. Thank you to all our neighbors who have stepped up to do their #OneRichmond thing by strengthening our neighborhood safety net.
One Richmond Opportunities
I encourage everyone to visit OneRichmondSF.com for up-to-date information and ways to get involved, from doing phone check-ins or grocery shopping for isolated seniors to volunteering for the food bank. You will also find ways to support our local businesses so they can weather this storm. Many of our small businesses are selling merchandise online, and the Geary Boulevard Merchants Association has developed the Geary Marketplace website, which has links to many of our small businesses.
One Richmond was created based on four basic concepts: in the Richmond we’re inclusive, we take care of each other, we take care of the Richmond, and we shop and eat local. It has never been more important for us to live up to this pledge, so please take care of yourselves, your loved ones and your neighbors during this time.
If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline or an urgent care center. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. With a limited testing and hospital capacity, it is critical that we not overwhelm our healthcare system. Your doctor will contact the Department of Public Health, who will work with the Center of Disease Control to decide if you need to be tested.
Commercial testing options are now available in California upon clinician referral. If you are uninsured, SF residents you can call the San Francisco Health Network call center at (415) 682-1740 for new patient appointments and COVID-19 information. You can also call 311 or go to sf311.org.
Effective Friday, March 20, Covered California opened the state’s health insurance benefits exchange to eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage amid the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Anyone who meets eligibility requirements, which are similar to those in place during the annual open enrollment period, can sign up for coverage through June 30, 2020 by visiting CoveredCA.com. In addition, Healthy San Francisco enrollment remains available year round. Learn how to apply by visiting healthysanfrancisco.org/visitors/how-do-i-apply/.
Relief for Residents and Small Businesses
While the most important thing we must do is stop the spread of this virus and save human lives, I also realize that this crisis is taking a major toll on our working class families and our beloved small businesses. I have been working with the mayor and my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to provide as much relief as we can. The mayor recently announced the Workers and Families First Program to provide paid sick leave to private sector workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes $10 million in public funding so businesses can provide an additional five days of sick leave pay to workers beyond their existing policies.
As part of the city’s advocacy for state and federal support, I recently authored a resolution urging the governor to implement a full fee moratorium for small businesses during the state of emergency. Other efforts by the City to support small businesses include deferring local business taxes and licensing fees, launching a relief fund for impacted businesses, supporting city employees and nonprofits funded by the City so workers don’t lose their incomes, enacting a moratorium on commercial evictions for businesses with less than $25 million in annual gross receipts, and working with partners in the philanthropic and private sector. This also includes the http://www.Give2SF.org fund, where donations can be made to support both small businesses and individuals impacted by the coronavirus.
The City launched a website to serve as a one-stop shop for all resources, contacts and updates for small businesses: http://www.oewd.org/covid19. The best thing we can do for our small businesses is to contain the virus so they can re-open. Therefore, everyone needs to take this seriously and shelter in place, which means to stay home except for absolutely essential activities.
In addition to supporting our small businesses, I was also proud to co-sponsor a resolution from Supervisor Dean Preston to urge the San Francisco Superior Court to pause eviction cases during this emergency, just as they had already paused civil cases. The day after the resolution was introduced, the court announced a stay on eviction cases for 90 days, with the exception of cases involving unsafe or violent behavior. This followed an executive order by the mayor putting a moratorium on residential evictions due to a loss of income caused by the crisis. The last thing we need during this public health emergency is people being evicted from their homes.
Changes to Transit and Parking Rules
SFMTA has also made some adjustments to their policies and services during this crisis. Muni bus service has been temporarily reduced and Muni Metro rail service is currently running normal schedules as I write this on March 20. Paratransit service continues to operate as normal so that customers can travel for essential needs as defined by the public health order. We ask you to please cancel any non-essential Paratransit trips; you can do so by calling (415) 285-6945 as soon as possible. Parking enforcement will be temporarily suspended for a number of instances, including street sweeping. For details on all of these changes, please visit https://www.sfmta.com/projects/covid-19-developments-response.
Please note that my office will be staffing the Emergency Operations Center the week of April 6, but we will still be checking emails and phone messages. This is an incredibly trying time for our community, our city and our country, but we will get through this together. Let’s continue to look out for each other; there has never been a better time to do a #OneRichmond thing every day. Take care and be well.
San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer represents District 1. She can be reached at (415) 554-7410 or Sandra.Fewer@sfgov.org.
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