SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Indoor malls in San Francisco were forced to close again on Monday.
That’s after San Francisco County was added to the state’s watch list on Friday due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
The closure affects places like the Westfield Mall, Japan Center Mall and Stonestown Galleria off 19th Avenue.
It’s not just big box stores inside this shopping mall. Locally owned small businesses also call this place home.
For them, it’s something they feared after already going through the closures once before at the start of the pandemic.
They say it’s a closure that costs them as much as 90% of their sales.
“Conversations I’ve had with other small business owners is it doesn’t look good. There’s no end in sight and a lot of them had to stop paying rent,” Joseph Santos said.
Joseph Santos and his business partner, Edgar Gonzales, own a Mexican Philipino fusion restaurant called Los Kuyas in San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria.
What started as a catering business in 2018 to support Santos through nursing school quickly became much more when they opened their first store location in the indoor mall in November.
Within just 8 months, they were forced to close indoor operations twice due to coronavirus regulations.
“Basically down about 90% when the doors are closed. The past 35 days we were allowed to be open, we were actually seeing our numbers go back to normal but with the closure again. Today’s the first day and we’re down back to 90% down,” Santos said.
Santos says they’ve since switched back to curbside pick-up only, like the rest of the stores inside the Stonestown Mall.
“We didn’t realize they were closed. We were going to stop inside the Max store and pick up some stuff so we weren’t expecting it to be closed,” Rick Ragusa said.
On Monday, indoor malls in San Francisco were forced to shut down again after the city and county were added to the state’s watch list on Friday due to rising coronavirus cases.
The closures also affect places like the Westfield Mall and Japan Center Mall.
“I think that it’s sad because a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on this. I know this is serious and I get it but I think that we should be able to make our own decision regarding going shopping,” Jennifer Larocca said.
“It’s what we gotta do at this stage. We’re going in the wrong direction and people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing so we gotta lock it down again,”
While shops inside the mall were forced to close their doors, stores with outdoor access along the perimeter were able to stay open.
While some business owners are no longer able to pay rent here, they say the mall’s been working with all of the businesses and they’ve been very flexible.
The owners of Los Kuyas were even able to lock down a spot in this parking lot to operate out of a food truck they just purchased.