San Francisco’s entertainment and nightlife businesses will get some relief in the form of fee and tax waivers, offering a reprieve for businesses still on the hook for expenses while revenues plummet during the coronavirus pandemic.
The city’s entertainment and nightlife businesses, and venues, have either not been able to operate at all or are open in a very limited capacity. These businesses include music venues, nightclubs, bars and restaurants with live performances.
Mayor London Breed announced the initiative Monday, saying that waiving license and registration fees as well as taxes is important for the survival of such businesses. The city expects to forgo $2.5 million in revenue with the move.
“We need to do more to support those businesses that contribute to San Francisco’s unique and vibrant culture,” Breed said in a statement. “Entertainment and nightlife are such an important part of why people live and visit our city, and we hope these additional fee waivers reduce some of the financial stress they’re experiencing.”
The city estimates that around 300 businesses will benefit; they are permitted as entertainment venues and have gross receipts of less than $20 million. These businesses will not have to pay regulatory license fees or registration fees for two years, nor payroll expense taxes for 2020.
City officials have grappled with balancing a gradual reopening of businesses—which remain crucial in curbing the spread of the virus — while mandating social distancing and safety protocols.
The waivers add to a series of measures the city has rolled out to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic. Last month, the Board of Supervisors waived permit fees for outdoor cafe tables and chairs, as well as parklets for outdoor dining. The Shared Spaces Program, which began at the end of May, fast-tracks free permits for outdoor business activities in places like parks, plazas, streets and sidewalks.
Shwanika Narayan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @shwanika Instagram: @shwanika