CBS Local – San Francisco:
More than half of all storefronts in San Francisco are no longer in business due to COVID-19, according to the survey by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
“The survey showed only 46 percent of storefront businesses in San Francisco that were open at the beginning of the pandemic are still operating,” said Jay Cheng, spokesman of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
That means 1200 stores are still open, while about 1300 have closed, Cheng said.
“There’s a lot of reasons for that. If you’re a fitness studio, you can’t open because of the pandemic. If you’re a retail space, you could open, but you might have decided that there isn’t enough foot traffic or enough customer base to make that worthwhile to reopen. So it’s become a very difficult situation,” Cheng said.
The data, which was collected with the help of credit card companies, helped the chamber identify which business corridors needed the most help.
Dario Hadjian, owner of Piazza Pellegrini Restaurant, in North Beach, said the pandemic has made it very challenging, but he is determined to keep the workers in his restaurant employed.
“We are barely making ends meet,” Hadjan said. “Whatever savings we have, we are trying to put it back into the business.”
Cheng said the city’s unemployment numbers are also through the roof, with claims now reaching 193,000 — four times the claims filed in 2008 during the Great Recession.
And what’s really unique is that during the Great Recession, we knew what we had to do to get people back to work. We had to fix the housing market, we had to get consumer confidence back up. Get people rehiring. Now, most of these 193,000 unemployment claims are unemployed because of the pandemic, said Cheng. “Until we get the public health crisis under control, we can’t get these folks back to work.”