COVID-19 requires swift, bold government interventions and innovative leadership

• News

More than any time in recent history, the extraordinary hardships caused by COVID-19 require swift, bold government interventions and innovative leadership to protect our residents, our workers, our first responders, and our economy.

I want to share with you an update on some of the actions I’ve been taking to tackle this crisis.

In just the past few weeks, hundreds of residents have contacted me with deep and unprecedented concerns. They tell me of their efforts to stave off homelessness while unemployed, or of their fears of being asked to work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Many have been targeted by scammers, and there are myriad reports of rampant price gouging as unscrupulous predators look to exploit this time of fear and uncertainty for financial gain.

It is enough that we have a public health disaster on our hands; I am not going to sit by while suffering is unnecessarily compounded.

This week I called for the Board of Supervisors to take immediate action on a series of protections either creating new protections or strengthening existing ones, to safeguard the public.

These include:

  1. Establishing a freeze on rent increases and moratorium on evictions.
  2. Granting subpoena power to the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) to enhance its ability to investigate price gouging and refer cases for potential criminal or civil action.
  3. Calling for the DCBA to investigate various scams and false and misleading claims relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus, including but not limited to untested miracle cures and drugs that can “prevent” infection.
  4. Creating provisions for grocery retail, drug retail, and food delivery services employees to be provided with all necessary sanitary tools and supplies, dedicated hand washing or sanitizing stations at the entrance of all stores and the implementation of crowd control measures to maintain social distancing.

This package of interventions will begin to roll out right away. And additional protections are underway with a special focus on some of our most vulnerable populations – our unsheltered and our incarcerated populations. We will also begin administering loans to support local small businesses. If nothing else, this time of uncertainty has shown us that we really are in this together – no one is immune from the coronavirus, and everyone’s dignity and humanity must be respected and protected. The community is stepping up in a moment of crisis to make sure those on the front lines are safe.