SAN FRANCISCO—The city of San Francisco wants to repurpose closed store fronts transforming them into facilities for COVID-19 services. With an increase in businesses closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials are looking to use the available space.

Earlier in the year, the Board of Supervisors passed legislation that would tax owners if a storefront was left vacant. Due to the pandemic, that has been put on hold.

On Monday, July 20 the Board of Supervisors, Land Use and Transportation Committee met and amended the original legislation set in place in order to allow for arts activities, social services, philanthropic facilities, and COVID-19 recovery activities to serve as temporary placeholders in vacant ground-floor commercial spaces.

Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Ahsha Safai and Dean Preston approved the amendment on July, 20 and proceedings will continue as per the amendment until the rest of the board votes on whether or not to allow the transformation of storefronts next month.

Legislative Aide at San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Paul Barragan told KTVU Fox 2, “This issue wasn’t new to San Francisco, but under the present circumstances with COVID and this global pandemic we’re seeing an expansion and an increase in storefront vacancies,”

Barragan continues, “We expanded the scope of the legislation to facilitate the use of vacant storefronts specifically for COVID recovery and relief efforts, and that can encompass everything from food distribution to accessing restroom and showering facilities to pop up testing clinics.”