SAN FRANCISCO - A new shipment of more than a million individual pieces of personal protective equipment arrived at a San Francisco warehouse on Monday. The city is beginning the process of passing them out to small businesses, helping them to open their doors sooner rather than later.
San Francisco leaders said the city's efforts to combat COVID-19 are beginning to show some signs of working, and the mayor said she's eager to get businesses open again. City leaders said until a vaccine becomes a reality, coronavirus is a fact of life.
COVID-19 will be an ongoing obstacle businesses will have to battle even as many reopen their doors for the first time in months, according to Mayor London Breed.
"We received over a million pieces of PPE we have today--masks, we have shields, we have hand sanitizer, and we're passing them out directly to small businesses, at least a 30 day supply, to support our small business community in San Francisco," said Breed.
The first round of handouts was directed at the city's Latino population and Latino businesses. Latino task force members said their community has more coronavirus cases per capita than other communities and has more essential workers.
"The step that we see today with this PPE and this distribution through this partnership is allowing us to protest those same essential workers that are providing services to all of San Francisco to keep this city running," said Jon Jacobo from the Latino Task Force.
SF Color Collective said before the shutdown business was booming, but the shutdown means more than a dozen employees have been out of work there for months. Owner Pricilla Kangas says safety has always been her top priority, and opening outdoors simply won't work for her.
She's frustrated by the lack of communication and direction from the city when it comes to a timeline or requirements.
"We need to have, or we should have been given the parameters ahead of time, so we are ready to go once they lift the shelter in place," said Kangas.
The mayor said she understands the frustration business owners are expressing.
"We'll have an announcement tomorrow, even though outdoor hair and hair stuff can happen, and we'll have better clarity as to the future and when we will be able to use indoor and what that would mean sooner," said Mayor Breed. "We'll have some more information tomorrow."
While nail and hair salons are cleared to open outdoors Tuesday, gyms and fitness providers can start outdoor operations on September 9th.
Christien Kafton is a reporter for KTVU. Email Christien at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @CKaftonKTVU