Help Our Local Businesses

By Paul Kozakiewicz

Congratulations San Franciscans; we’re crushing the curve of this virus by staying at home, limiting our travel and wearing masks in public. And we’re thankful that for the past two months our health care workers and first responders have been hard at work to keep us safe. 

Now we need to start working on the unintended consequences of this crisis. One is our newfound economic reality that some 100,000 San Franciscans are out of work and the fear that their employers might not be able to weather the storm. 

We need to get as many of our unemployed as possible safely back to work and providing for themselves and their families. We can help, just by spending our stimulus checks and whatever else we can afford at our neighborhood businesses. 

Many westside restaurants have food to go and some businesses have curbside pickup. Soon, our bars, coffee shops and other venues will open with patrons being able to sit inside, albeit safely separated. 

Even with these measures, not every business will be able to make it. But let’s give them a fighting chance. 

Our merchants provide the products and services we need to live good and fulfilling lives. They are the lifeblood of our community. Whenever there is a fundraiser for any of our schools or any other good cause, our merchants are always the first to step forward and say: “How can I help?” Their generosity is unbridled and unmatched.

I have been going to several restaurants a week for pickup in the Richmond and Sunset districts. As far as I know, no one has gotten sick from food prepared by our local restaurants.

I have also been to several essential businesses, including hardware stores, whose employees wear masks and work hard by constantly cleaning to assure their customers’ safety. 

With all of us being cooped up for more than two months now, many of us can’t wait to sit in a restaurant, have a drink at a bar, listen to our favorite band, or watch a movie or a play. While we are endowed with great places to visit, like Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park and the dozens of other parks on the west side, it’s not the same as getting together with friends and family. 

There are still many unanswered questions concerning the coronavirus outbreak, but we can stay safe while we support our local merchants.   

Please strap on a mask and go to whatever businesses you did before the pandemic hit and purchase something. If there is an employee there that depends on tips, give generously. Most of them are working reduced hours and have a lot of bills that are piling up.

As San Franciscans, we have worked hard to flatten the curve and lessen the impact of the coronavirus on our healthcare system. We have done what the experts asked us to do for the betterment of us all. Now, we need to make that same commitment to ensure the economic welfare of our community. 

We can do it. At the start of the year, our state and national economies were humming along about as well as they ever have with low unemployment rates and a strong gross national product. 

We will get back to economic health, but in the meantime let’s keep the pain level as low as possible by saving as many businesses and jobs as we can. The only thing we need to do is what we were doing before the virus struck (but safely) – spending money and enjoying life and work with our family, co-workers and friends. I’m confident we will get there.

Paul Kozakiewicz is an editor with the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers. 

For more information about local merchants, go to the following websites:

Balboa Village Merchants Association

Clement Street Merchants Association

Geary Boulevard Merchants Association

Laurel Village Merchants Association

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