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Hours reduced at San Francisco convenience stores to slow spread of virus

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Convenience stores and other small grocery stores that sell alcohol in San Francisco now have new restrictions.

An emergency proclamation signed by the Mayor on Friday limits the hours at these businesses to reduce gatherings of people.

But some corner store owners complain the big stores are still able to stay open longer and many more people gather at those places.

The emergency proclamation says these stores must close between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The goal is to keep people from coming together in groups at these places.

But one store owner tells me these hours are crucial for business and this is really going to hurt them.

San Francisco’s liquor and corner store businesses are having to make some changes.

The city has deemed these places essential, but the mayor is now imposing new restrictions.

“Be fair to us don’t treat us don’t take us to the corner and profile us because we’re the weaker,” Elias Shamieh said.

Shamieh is the owner of 19th Avenue Liquors.

He said almost half of the customers he sees come in after 8 p.m.

The mayor’s new emergency proclamation is forcing the closure of such stores between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Shamieh is expecting to take a major hit.

“She’s hurting everybody across the board just to either make herself look better or to think that what she’s doing is going to help stop the virus, it’s not,” he said. “You need to do it across the board or you don’t do it at all.”

Shamieh doesn’t understand why this proclamation is limited to just stores like his — ones that are under 5,000 square feet — and not supermarkets like Safeway or others.

“I’m not entirely sure why the mayor didn’t include big stores or think about maybe just stopping selling alcohol after 8 o’clock to limit some of the congregating,” he said.

District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney said he understands the hardships of these smaller businesses struggling through this difficult time.

But he also understands that public safety and keeping people from gathering is the top priority.

“I’m glad that they’re gonna be able to stay open,” he said.

Not all convenience stores are against the reduced hours.

SFPD visited Easy Money in the outer Sunset to let them know about the new cut off.

Store owner Sam Dabit’s shop usually closes at 9 p.m.

“I think we have to do something to stop people from going outside and not to gather.”

Dabit has it set up within his store for customers to stay six feet apart.

He said the reduced hours will only help in the long run.

But Shamieh argues he’d like the city to not single out the little guy.

“Taking away the corner stores and leaving the rest is not going to help,” he said. At all.”

Small corner stores that do not sell alcohol can remain open during this time.

KRON4 reached out to the Mayor’s office to find out why big stores were not included in this proclamation, but have not heard back.

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