SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco is setting up a $12 million-fund to provide loans to small businesses in the city hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the creation of the an Francisco Small Business Recovery Fund in a press release Thursday. Businesses in need could start applying for zero percent loans up to $100,000 that same day.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic decimated many of our small businesses and forced them to change their business models to meet public health and safety demands,” said Breed. “Small businesses have kept this city alive throughout the pandemic and will play a critical role in our economic recovery. It’s more important than ever that we provide necessary funding and pass legislation that will help small businesses successfully operate in San Francisco for years to come.”

While vaccinations are up and COVID-19 cases are down, many San Francisco businesses are still struggling. A recent report from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce found that as many as 50% of San Francisco’s businesses remain closed.

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San Francisco officials have been trying to offset the impact of the pandemic from the beginning, providing more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. Among the efforts was legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.

The San Francisco Small Business Recovery Fund is an extension of previous efforts. The program is largest to date and the first locally supported fund open to new businesses.

“Small businesses led the way out of the Great Recession and they can do it again now, but not without access to business support and flexible and affordable credit,” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Our small businesses need a continued, concerted effort to help them rebuild and reopen safely. The San Francisco Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will allow them to obtain the capital they need to quickly get back on their feet, hire workers, and become operational without worrying about interest payments.”

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Small businesses can apply online at CALoanFund.org.