As we begin another week in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to provide you ongoing updates about San Francisco resources and opportunities available to you from the tech community and beyond.
A special note from the sf.citi team:
We will update you on a weekly basis with the latest news on COVID-19 in San Francisco. However, due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may provide more frequent updates as new policies continue to emerge. All information we collect about COVID-19 will be published on the sf.citi website.
- 490 confirmed cases in California
- 6 confirmed deaths in California
- 251 confirmed cases in the Bay Area
*As of 9:00am PT on 3/16
UPDATES FROM THE TECH COMMUNITY
Over the weekend, sf.citi joined over 170 tech CEOs and VCs in calling for free drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing stations in every county in California. Widespread testing has proved successful in containing the coronavirus in South Korea. We—the tech and business community—are willing to commit resources to help Governor Gavin Newsom make that happen in California.
Additionally, many sf.citi members have taken leadership on developing their own policies and strategies to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on their employees, customers, and the general public. We’ve listed some of these tech-driven efforts below.
- Airbnb is offering free global cancellations and refunds to those traveling in areas affected by COVID-19. The extenuating circumstances policy will apply for travel from March 14–April 14.
- Amazon is actively monitoring and removing tens of thousands of accounts engaging in price gouging practices related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has also established an Amazon Relief Fund for Amazon partners and delivery drivers experiencing financial hardship.
- Comcast is providing free Xfinity hotspots, unlimited data, and no disconnects or late fees for all customers experiencing hardship over the next 60 days. Comcast is also offering a free Internet Essentials internet plan for all new customers for 60 days.
- Dropbox invites nonprofits and NGOs focused on fighting COVID-19 to apply for a free, three-month subscription to Dropbox Business.
- Facebook created a free Business Resource Hub with resources for businesses struggling to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Google is offering free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities for all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally.
- Microsoft announced it will continue to pay its hourly vendor workers even after the company’s office closure.
- Postmates introduced a Small Business Relief Pilot allowing new businesses in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas to sign up for the platform and enjoy a temporary waive on commission fees. Postmates is also offering no contact delivery for customers, as well as a relief fund to cover medical expenses for its fleet of delivery workers.
- Salesforce donated $1.5 million to the Give2SF Fund to help address emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Verizon is waiving late fees incurred by any residential or small business customers due their economic circumstances related to COVID-19 for the next 60 days. Furthermore, the company will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers who are unable to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
UPDATES FROM THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO
- All non-essential events of 100 or more persons in the City and County of San Francisco are prohibited until April 30.
- Beginning March 17, the San Francisco Unified School District will provide free breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday for all children (up to age 18) at 14 pick-up sites across San Francisco.
- Starting March 16, the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Public Library will begin to operate libraries and indoor recreation facilities as emergency care facilities for children of parents on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak and low-income families.
- Mayor Breed announced measures to support small businesses in San Francisco that are experiencing a slowdown in business as a result of COVID-19. These include the deferral of business taxes and licensing fees and the launch of an economic relief fund.
While Mayor Breed has not yet announced a full shut down of non-essential businesses in San Francisco, both Los Angeles and New York City have implemented the closure of non-essential services such as theaters, gyms, and dine-in restaurant operations. It is likely we will receive a similar order in the coming day(s).
To stay up to date with all City of San Francisco updates, follow the Mayor’s updates here.
UPDATES FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
- On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom gave an address to explain how the state of California is planning to address and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. He emphasized that aid and support will be prioritized based on need, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly and homeless.
- Governor Newsom entered a partnership with Verily (the health and life science subsidiary of Alphabet) to expand “mobile testing” for COVID-19. On a soon-to-launch portal, people can have their specific COVID-19 questions answered, learn how likely they are to contract the virus, and connect to resources to get tested, if necessary.
- Nightclubs, pubs, wineries, and breweries are being asked to close throughout the state to help reduce non-essential gatherings and slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Restaurants can remain open as long as they comply with best “social distancing” practices.
To stay up to date with all State of California updates, follow the California Department of Health’s updates here.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Donate to the UCSF’s QBI Coronavirus Research Group working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Support the many local nonprofits providing services to San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations, including Meals on Wheels San Francisco, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, and St. Anthony’s.
- Support free online classes for public school students affected by the COVID-19 school closures.
And lastly, we wanted to share this piece by the San Francisco Chronicle on how you can use social distancing to take advantage of the beauty of the Bay Area. Or, if you’d prefer (or are mandated) to stay inside, why not try one of these 450 free Ivy League courses ?<
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