Celebrating Lunar New Year and Black History Month!
February is a month full of celebrations, with Lunar New Year and Black History Month activities happening across San Francisco! Lunar New Year festivities continue on February 17 at 5pm with the annual City Hall Lunar New Year celebration, which will be streamed live on Mayor London Breed's FaceBook and YouTube pages, and on February 19 with the return of the historic San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. To attract more visitors to Chinatown during this festive season, SFMTA has made the first two hours of parking free at the Chinatown Portsmouth Square Garage now through February 28.
To celebrate the 2022 national theme, Black Health and Wellness, for Black History Month, the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society is hosting free public events on topics such as financial health, nutrition, and genealogy throughout February. The San Francisco Public Library is also hosting free film screenings, literary events, and activities as part of their “More Than a Month” celebration.
News from City Hall
Indoor Mask Mandate Lifted for Vaccinated Individuals
Beginning on February 16, indoor masking is no longer required for vaccinated individuals in most indoor public settings in San Francisco and ten Bay Area counties. Unvaccinated individuals over age 2 continue to be required to wear masks in all indoor public settings. Regardless of vaccination status, indoor masking is still required for everyone on public transportation and in long-term care facilities, congregate settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters, and K-12 schools and childcare settings.
Individual operations or businesses may choose to continue to require masking. Indoor masking requirements will remain in place for everyone regardless of vaccination status in City Hall and City facilities, such as libraries, recreation centers, offices, and other service sites operated by the City, until further notice. Proof of vaccinations or a recent negative COVID-19 test are required to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and other settings where food or drink is consumed or elevated breathing occurs. Health officers strongly recommend wearing masks as an effective tool to prevent the spread of the virus. Learn more here.
Make Your Voice Heard! Get Involved in the Redistricting Process
Following the 2020 census, the Redistricting Task Force must redraw the supervisorial district maps by April 15, 2022 to ensure the boundaries comply with legal requirements established in federal, state, and local law. The redrawing of the district boundaries can affect communities’ abilities to elect supervisors who represent them and respond to their needs. The Task Force is holding district-specific meetings throughout the months of February and March to receive feedback from the public. Click here for a full list of upcoming meetings.
Financial Support for San Franciscans with COVID-19
Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Hillary Ronen recently announced $5.4 million in additional funding to extend the Right to Recover Program, which provides San Franciscans who need to quarantine due to COVID-19 and are unable to work with $1,000 to support their basic living expenses. Click here for more information, or call the COVID Resource Center at 628-217-6101 to receive a program referral.
Resources for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
"Just Add Music" Permits Extended Through June 2022
The “Just Add Music” (JAM) program allows businesses to apply for permits for outdoor entertainment or amplified sound, such as bands, DJs, pre-recorded music, theater and dance performances. New applications for JAM permits will be accepted by the Entertainment Commission through June 30, 2022. Active JAM permits have been automatically extended through June 30, 2022 for permit holders who continue to have valid outdoor property approval. Learn more and apply at sf.gov/jam.
Updated COVID-19 Signage
Signs are changing to reflect the new COVID-19 health order. Businesses can download and print the newest signs off of the City's COVID-19 Outreach toolkit page. The page will be updated with the latest signage.
$4.7 Million Awarded to AAPI and Latinx Cultural Organizations
Mayor London Breed announced over $4.7 million in grant funding for neighborhood events and activities focusing on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Latinx arts and culture, including museums and major cultural events, like the Chinatown Lights and Arts Festival, Carnaval, Día de Los Muertos, and an exhibit on the life and legacy of Bruce Lee. The funding also includes grants to 230 Chinatown small businesses that had not previously received COVID-19 relief grants from the City. The investment aims to attract residents and tourists to historic commercial corridors in celebration of arts and culture and in support of small businesses and local economic recovery.
Shared Spaces Equity Grant Applications Due Feb. 28
Since Summer 2020, the Shared Spaces program has enabled businesses to use outdoor places like sidewalks, streets, and open lots for business activities. To ensure disability access, emergency response, and other important public functions, the City is providing grants of up to $2,500 for businesses operating Shared Spaces to bring them into compliance with new guidelines. Applications for the Shared Spaces Equity Grants are due on February 28. Learn more about the new guidelines here and apply for a grant here.
Language Access For All
In San Francisco, one in every three residents is an immigrant, and over 40% of San Franciscans speak a language other than English at home. The San Francisco Language Access Ordinance (LAO) was established over 20 years ago to ensure equal and meaningful access to information and services for all residents, regardless of their primary language. The Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) this month released the annual Language Access Compliance Summary Report, which evaluates citywide LAO compliance and progress regarding language access services. The report showed overall increases in Limited English Proficient (LEP) client interactions, the volume of translated materials, and the number of bilingual staff certified by the Department of Human Resources as bilingual. In-language access to timely, accurate information and services was particularly critical as communities faced a global pandemic which exacerbated historic inequities in healthcare, food security, housing, education, and other critical services. The report features direct feedback from over 2,000 community members via a comprehensive Language Access Community Survey conducted in 11 languages in 2021. Review the full report here.
Muni Bond on June Ballot to Fund Future of Our Public Transit System
This past Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to place the $400 million Muni Reliability and Street Safety Bond proposed by Mayor Breed on the June 2022 ballot. The bond will help the City sustain a safe, accessible, and reliable public transit system by maintaining Muni’s equipment and facilities, providing quick and convenient transit access, and making street safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. It will also allow the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency to tap into nearly a billion dollars in matching funds from the federal and state government.
The bond was recommended for approval by the Capital Planning Committee chaired by City Administrator Carmen Chu. It is also part of the City's 10-Year Capital Plan, the guiding document for infrastructure investments developed by the Office of Resilience and Capital Planning. The current 10-Year Capital Plan includes $38 billion for critical public health facilities, affordable housing, parks and cultural centers, safer streets, and better transportation over the coming decade.
Agency Spotlight: DataSF
Transforming City Services with Data
DataSF's mission is to empower the use of data in decision-making and service delivery. Their work, which includes building streamlined access to data, developing citywide data policy, building dashboards and business intelligence, and applying data science to elevate key insights and improve service delivery, allows City agencies to leverage interdepartmental analytics and increases information and transparency among the public. DataSF’s open data program (DataSF.org), which makes timely data available for public use, has served as a model for organizations around the world and has published over 500 public datasets ranging from property tax information to health and nutrition to 311 caseloads.
Throughout the pandemic, DataSF has made crucial data available to the public through COVID-19 dashboards that were accessed more than 4 million times last year. The dashboards help City leaders and agencies make data-driven policy decisions and advance equity in the City’s pandemic response.
Mayor London Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu recently announced urban planner and data & analytics manager Michelle Littlefield to serve as the City’s Chief Data Officer and helm the work of DataSF. The role of the Chief Data Officer was first created in 2014 to empower the use of data in decision-making and service delivery among city agencies. DataSF recently merged with Digital Services to provide a strong end-to-end digital offer and analytics ecosystem that puts San Francisco at the forefront of civic data and digital services.