San Francisco Merchants Seek Compensation for Losses Incurred During APEC Summit

San Francisco Merchants Seek Compensation for Losses Incurred During APEC Summit

Local businesses near Moscone Center demand reimbursement for financial damages caused by strict security measures during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

San Francisco merchants are calling on City Hall to compensate them for significant losses suffered during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held last month. The conference, which brought together world leaders, CEOs, dignitaries, and journalists from 21 economies, resulted in heavy-duty metal fencing and restricted access to the convention center. While city officials anticipated economic benefits from the event, local businesses argue that the conference’s security measures hindered their operations and caused substantial financial harm. Now, they are urging the city to tap into a $10 million fund initially allocated for APEC-related costs to aid affected businesses.

Businesses Struggle as APEC Measures Limit Access and Impact Revenue

Representatives from various businesses near the convention center testified before the Board of Supervisors, detailing the detrimental effects of APEC on their operations. Manuel Ramirez, owner of the Metreon location of the Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon, revealed that suppliers were unable to navigate the security obstacles to deliver goods during the conference. Despite staying open in the hopes of attracting conference attendees, Ramirez reported a loss of over $50,000. Other businesses echoed similar sentiments, asserting that they were left as “sacrificial lambs” for the city’s global reputation.

Supervisor Considers Compensation for Affected Businesses

Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents the South of Market (SoMa) district, expressed openness to compensating businesses impacted by APEC. He acknowledged that while the conference burnished San Francisco’s image, the hardships faced by local businesses were unique and extraordinary. Dorsey emphasized that the situation did not set a precedent for future compensation requests, as APEC was an exceptional event. Mayor London Breed’s administration, responsible for preparing the city for APEC, is also considering compensation but awaits a comprehensive understanding of the conference’s impact before committing to any specific actions.

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City Officials Engage with Affected Businesses

Mayor Breed’s Office of Economic Workforce and Development, along with the Office of Small Business, is in discussions with businesses affected by APEC. They are actively working on next steps to address the concerns raised by community members and officials. Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who is running for mayor against Breed, criticized the lack of adequate preparation for businesses during the conference. He also highlighted the discrepancy between the clean and safe streets during APEC events and the city’s usual operations.

Mixed Impact on Businesses within the Security Zone

The APEC conference had varying effects on businesses within the Moscone Center security zone. The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, which overlapped with the security zone, experienced a significant decline in foot traffic during the conference week. Businesses reported a 64.3% drop in revenue compared to September and October. However, hotels in the area benefited from the influx of conference attendees, with every hotel operating at maximum capacity.

Conclusion: The APEC summit in San Francisco generated economic activity and showcased the city on a global stage. However, local businesses near the convention center faced substantial financial losses due to the strict security measures and limited access. While city officials are considering compensation, the impact of APEC on businesses highlights the need for better preparation and support mechanisms to ensure a balance between hosting major events and supporting local commerce. As San Francisco continues to pursue opportunities to enhance its global reputation, it must also prioritize the well-being and prosperity of its local businesses.

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