Mayor discusses city’s approval of evictions halt, small business relief package

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SAN DIEGO — With the number of ill San Diegans continuing to increase, the San Diego City Council Wednesday unanimously approved an immediate eviction moratorium to provide relief to residents and businesses facing financial hardship related to the pandemic.

The emergency law temporarily halting evictions in San Diego will last until May 31. Tenants must demonstrate a “substantial decrease in income or medical expenses” caused by COVID-19 in order to qualify. It will not relieve a tenant of their requirement to pay rent or restrict a landlord from recovering rent at a future time.

The city’s emergency ordinance protects tenants against evictions if they can document their income has been substantially reduced due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, or if they have medical bills related to the coronavirus.

The new ordinance directs staff to develop a strategy to work with banks and lenders to halt mortgage payments or foreclosures for individuals and landlords who have suffered severe loss of wages and income due to the health crisis.

The council, which convened an emergency meeting, also unanimously approved a multimillion-dollar small business relief fund proposed last week by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The mayor has grown the fund from about $4 million to $6 million since he announced its creation last week as part of a broader economic relief package. Financial assistance will range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be allocated to eligible small businesses based on the availability of funds and program guidelines.

The money would go toward operations and continuing to pay employees.

Some key requirements for businesses to be eligible include: Employing less than the equivalent of 100 full-time employees, have a business tax certificate, show the business has been in operation for at least 6 months, and prove economic hardship due to the current pandemic.

Businesses will be able to begin applying for the funds Friday at 5 p.m. on the city’s designated coronavirus website.

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