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San Jose Approves Moratorium On Evictions As Coronavirus Takes Toll On Economy

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The San Jose City Council unanimously approved Mayor Sam Liccardo's proposal to place a temporary moratorium on housing evictions for people economically affected by the coronavirus and are having trouble paying their rent.

The proposal passed in principle and the city attorney's office is crafting an ordinance which will come back to the city council later this month.

"We know this is going to get worse before it gets better, so it's important for us to get ahead of this," said Mayor Sam Liccardo.

San Jose is at the epicenter of California's coronavirus epidemic and many small businesses are feeling the impact.

"I used to serve 350, 400 meals a day," said Bahri Dogan who runs the Kebab Guys catering business. Kebab Guys works with many high tech clients who've kept their employees home to work remotely.

"Since the news come out, I've been serving 60, 70 meals. Barely a hundred. Yeah, we need to take precautions, but the panic is too much."

Large events and games at the SAP Center have been closed to the public, cutting into the work schedules of vendors and ushers.

The same with the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, which cancelled a big, three day Facebook developer conference.

And in-person classes have been cancelled for at least three days for San Jose State's 35,000 students, making campus like much of downtown San Jose look like a ghost town.

"We're still serving the people, but not as many people are showing up," said

Jessi Waldon, a server at Firehouse No. 1 in downtown San Jose, says the outcomes of the outbreak are already cutting into her paycheck.

"I had my hours cut early yesterday. I lost an hour. And usually Monday is our busiest day for lunch. But there was nobody here."

Down the street, the 5 Points Bar is bracing for a slowdown.

"Usually, I'd have like three or four bartenders on a busy night. Now I'm down to like two," said Jacob Fouts. "We've had a bunch of parties cancelled in the past week or so, one was 200 people cancelled for tomorrow," he said.

Mayor Liccardo said the coronavirus could spark a recession.

"There are going to be layoffs. And even if workers keep their jobs, they're not going to be earning money while they stay at home. So it's important for us to be able to help those families stay afloat," he said.

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