San Francisco issues curfew on some Tenderloin stores

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN FRANCISCOSan Francisco plans to crack down on drug activity in the Tenderloin by placing a curfew on some corner stores during the overnight hours. 

It’s part of Mayor London Breed‘s plan to make the streets safer, reduce loitering and crowds, and prevent drug-related crimes. 

She said the new ordinance, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, followed community outreach. Her office received direct feedback from residents, organizations, and businesses who wanted to break up drug markets. 

While it’s not hard to see people congregating outside corner markets in the day, the crowds seem to grow at night. 

The mayor said these Tenderloin businesses may attract illegal behavior to city sidewalks, which fuels the overdose crisis on the streets. 

A San Francisco resident recently shared photos with KTVU of people congregating on a typical night near Market and McAllister streets.

Breed’s ordinance would require stores that sell prepackaged food or tobacco to close from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., and those that sell liquor to close from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., to discourage loitering and crowding in part of the Tenderloin.  

“Just by making them close two to three hours earlier, there’s going to be people here. As long as you have people wanting the drugs, there’s still going to be people here still selling the drugs,” said resident J.J. Smith. 

Smith doesn’t believe the curfew will do much to interfere with the nighttime drug markets.

The mayor’s office said small businesses hope this effort will improve safety in the area, under this two-year pilot program.

Bars and restaurants like Falafel City, which is open until 2 am, would be exempt.

“I think it’s a great plan, it’s pretty good to close the liquor store from 12 to 5 and keep all the people away that have – all these homeless people away that have mental health problems,” said co-owner Shaheer Asghar. 

Business owners who are affected by the new ordinance say they’re being punished for bad behavior on the streets. 

Mi Reyna Market on O’Farrell Street is open until 4 a.m. The manager said their sales increase during the late night hours.

“It will affect the business, because a lot of people finish work at that time, they are coming shopping, buying food,” said manager Essa Mohamed. 

The manager said he believes crime will actually increase under the new ordinance.

“There will be more crime, more break-in the stores, this is just like a while back when COVID happened, they break all these stores,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the city said it’s making progress with state and federal partners. 

Since May 2023, Breed’s office said SFPD made more than 3,400 arrests related to drug activity and seized more than 77 million lethal doses of fentanyl.

“I’ve been here over 20 years and it’s pretty much been the same thing,” said Mohamed of the street conditions he’s observed. 

The city says for each hour a store operates in violation of this ordinance, they will face a fine of up to $1000. The ordinance will be enforced by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and SFPD.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.