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San Francisco supes approve overnight store curfew in Tenderloin to curb drug sales

San Francisco supervisors move forward with plan for mandated curfew for some Tenderloin businesses
San Francisco supervisors move forward with plan for mandated curfew for some Tenderloin businesses 03:23

Amid efforts to crack down on drug sales in San Francisco's Tenderloin, the city's Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance placing a curfew on some neighborhood stores during overnight hours.

In a unanimous vote, the supervisors approved a plan from Mayor London Breed, establishing a two-year pilot program prohibiting retail establishments selling prepackaged food or tobacco products from operating between midnight and 5 a.m.

Breed said in a statement that the legislation follows input from neighborhood residents, community organizations and businesses seeking to curb drug markets in the area, particularly at night.

"The drug markets happening at night in this neighborhood are unacceptable and must be met with increased law enforcement and new strategies, but this must be done in partnership with community, which we are doing," the mayor said. "Residents, business owners and workers have raised their concerns again and again, and it is imperative that we listen to them as we continue our efforts to make the Tenderloin safer for everyone. 

The curfew covers establishments in an area between O'Farrell and McAllister streets and from Polk to Jones streets. Bars, restaurants and event halls are not covered by the curfew.

Officials said stores found in violation of the curfew may face $1,000 fines and potential legal action from the City Attorney's office.

Rene Colorado from the Tenderloin Merchants Association acknowledged the potential negative impact on local businesses but remains hopeful about the city's intentions.

"We want to monitor and work with the Supervisors office to make sure that businesses that are not bad actors are protected and that they're not unfairly impacted by this legislation," said Colorado.

Some business owners said they have asked for help, but that the proposed solution is a punishment for them as well.

"We would've loved to get help instead of having this route where this is going to negatively affect our business," Abdo ALomari said. "I feel like it's unfair for us to be punished for a few bad actors here and there. Something we've been asking for help for some time."

"The City is working alongside the community to make our neighborhoods safer, and the vast majority of businesses are contributing to our neighborhoods in meaningful ways," City Attorney David Chiu said. "But, there are a handful of late-night retail establishments in the Tenderloin that appear to attract significant nighttime drug activity, and this legislation will give the City an additional tool to deter that activity.

The curfew comes as multi-agency crackdown on drug sales in the area enters its second year. Known as the Drug Market Agency Coordination Center, the crackdown has led to police seizing more than 225 kilos of narcotics and more than 3,400 arrests, including 1,400 alleged drug dealers.

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