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5,000 San Francisco Area Businesses Have Closed Since Start of Pandemic

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The legendary It’s Tops diner opened in the 1930s. It’s one of the places that has permanently closed since the start of the pandemic.

We all knew that the economic toll of the pandemic was serious and that many businesses had closed down, but wow…5,000 is a staggering number. According to this article in the Chronicle, which was relayed to me by this article on SFist, data from Yelp has revealed that of the 5,000 businesses that have closed since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and over 2,000 of them have shut permanently.

This is bad on so many levels. There’s the obvious economic one: loss of jobs, loss of livelihoods, loss of tax revenue. But it’s also terrible on a cultural level. Part of what makes San Francisco the special place that it is is the slew of interesting, quirky, and inspiring small businesses that populate the landscape. One of the joys of this city is wandering through a neighborhood and bumbling into someplace you didn’t know existed but that you fall in love with immediately.

Small, local, independent businesses are more than just places that sell things or provide services. They often act as community hubs, social touchstones, and centers of city life. It’s heartbreaking to think what this city will be like if this trend continues.

As the SFist article explains, “Expectedly, businesses in neighborhoods synonyms with abundant tourist traffic — North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and, like we touched on this morning, Chinatown — are faring the worst. These numbers, too, are almost certainly to balloon with congress still at a stalemate with fleshing out the next stimulus rollout plan, which would include an injection of support to the expiring Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).”

Let’s hope that our federal, state, and local governments can do something fast to slow this down.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.