The majority of our San Antonio residents are employed by small businesses, and it is our responsibility to honor those who ensure our families can thrive. The service and hospitality industry are the backbone of our economy, and we must continue providing support as we get through the downturn caused by COVID-19 together.
I have proposed moving $17m of unused funding from the Alamo project to housing and small business support. The City is currently planning to use the funds to support building a State-controlled piece of the Alamo property. It is absolutely not our responsibility to pay for property that does not fall under the jurisdiction of our City – especially when so many local families and businesses are struggling for resources.
It is undeniable that San Antonio is recognized globally for its rich culture and history. A major component of both is our food and beverage industry, which contributes to 52.7% of our total economic impact. But between August 2019 and August 2020, over 20,000 hospitality workers lost their jobs. That is why I proposed a food and beverage relief fund in October, 2020. As part of that initiative, we have already located $250,000 in funds from the Houston St. TIRZ that will be made available to businesses within the district.
Local independent businesses that do so much for our City deserve a chance to survive the pandemic.
The pandemic has caused many of our local businesses to either close or limit their capacity. Many of the local business owners reached out to my office seeking information and support, and through these conversations, the idea to provide public outdoor space to add capacity was born. I am pleased to announce that the pilot program is underway, and a number of restaurants are able to benefit from added outdoor seating.