San Francisco + San José + Oakland

Using the Public Realm to Support Local Business During the Pandemic

Photo by Flickr user Elvert Barnes

The COVID-19 pandemic had turned ongoing challenges faced by local retailers into an immediate existential crisis. With indoor gatherings on hold, city governments around the region are looking for ways to deploy streets, sidewalks and plazas to keep local businesses afloat. Working overtime to cut through the bureaucratic barriers that can make doing this work difficult, they’re creating more permissive and centralized permitting and reaching out to marginalized communities that need the most support in order to survive. Hear what they’ve accomplished so far, how they’re tackling the minutiae — from insurance to alcohol sales to accessibility — and what they’re learning from other cities across the Bay Area.

+ Blage Zelalich / City of San José
+ Ed Solis / City of San José
+ Warren Logan / City of Oakland
+ Robin Abad Ocubillo / City of San Francisco


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