Major influx of cash may be needed to save SF nightlife venues

San Francisco is known for its nightlife, but nightlife advocates are warning the music could come to an end because of the pandemic and lockdown. They're saying they need a major influx of cash to save local music venues.

Those venues say business was already rough before the pandemic, and now with their doors closed and the stages empty it's only a matter of time before many of those venues close for good. Live shows, comedy and music are a part of the fabric of San Francisco.

Bottom of the Hill a live music venue is coming up on its 29th year rocking in the city, and Lynn Schwarz says running a  business is never easy, but the pandemic has been devastating. "I was finally feeling like, relaxed and like we're going to make it, and then March 13th hits and we have to shut down operations completely and there hasn't beeen a dime coming in since then," said Schwarz.

Bottom of the Hill is just one venue in a city with dozens of music, comedy and live performance spaces. Bar and music venue owners say in addition to adding to the city's culture, they also help pay the bills.

"The latest economic shows that nightlife adds $7.2 billion to our local economy and employs over 60,000 people," said nightlife advocate Ben Bleiman.

If something doesn't change soon the curtain could fall on venues around the city. Schwarz says the industry needs a major infusion of cash, likely more than concert goers alone could make up by buying merchandize or through donations.

"It could be one guy at one company that goes, 'You know what my $10 million could save every single small to medium venue in San Francisco and I will be a hero.'" said Schwarz. "And we will put on a concert in your name."

Schwarz and Bleiman agree that the city needs to do some out of the box thinking.

"We're ready to do the hard work to put on socially distanced concerts in the parks and make sure that we're doing is safely," said Schwarz.

"We need it now. It's not as complicated as it sounds the people are there already," said Bleiman.." We just need guidance, guidance, guidance from the Health Department on how to do it safely."

Advocates also say they need some long term fixes to ensure long term viability. Including streamline regulations for opening and operating venues, and rolling back some fees, such as tour bus parking fees.