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What comes next? Bay Area retail stores prepare for possible reopening

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – It’s not hard to see how the shelter in place order has impacted business, most everywhere you look the sign says closed. 

Now a glimmer of hope that some stores may soon be able to reopen for curbside pick up only.

“I am hoping the mayor will follow suit from the governor but I am happy to wait and see,” owner Celia Sack said. 

At Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, they’ve been doing a lot of shipping but having some contact with customers, even in the doorway will be helpful.

“If they want advice about another books, what’s the best bread making book I can show them some options and they can decide which is a nice choice for them,” Sack said. 

“The upside is to serve the community because people are anxious to spend their money in their neighborhood, we have a faithful following, we have been there 38 years,” David Eiland said. 

David Eiland owns Just for Fun, a gift and stationary store in Noe Valley, filled with everything from fire art supplies to greeting cards to toys to puzzles.  

He says curbside pickup will be a good service for his regulars, but it won’t do much else.

“It’s not a sustainable business plan its not going to pay our rent or our bills at all,” Eiland said.

Eiland says if retail stores are to survive the city must mandate that landlords renegotiate new rent terms. 

He says that is preferable to allowing customers back in the store too soon, and running the risk of the virus getting out of control again and forcing another hard shutdown this winter during the busy holiday shopping season.

“If this goes through to the 4th quarter or if there is another shutdown in the 4th quarter, I will never reopen I will go straight into liquidation,” Eiland said.

San Francisco’s mayor has said she is all for retails stores reopening as long as it can be done safely. 

As to the how and when, that is in the hands of the region’s health officers. 

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