Hours before San Francisco's shelter-in-place order was enacted, a nonchalant stroll through the Mission District proved eerily quiet, void of heavy foot traffic, and peppered with signs explaining why various restaurants or businesses were closed amid city-wide coronavirus concerns.
Nonetheless: The neighborhood’s lack of movement didn't stop me from nearly being impaled by not one, but two of SF's ubiquitous e-scooters while ambling along those idle footpaths.
Mayor London Breed announced yesterday afternoon that a shelter-in-place order was to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, with five other Bay Area counties — Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, and Alameda — following suit. Causeless pandemonium and panic shopping ensued almost immediately after the announcement was made; checkout lines weaving through frozen food aisles at Bay Area Safeway and Trader Joe's stores were common scenes. The Dolores and Market Whole Foods was a tizzy — a parade of organic produce, carried in reusable totes by overwrought doomsday preppers with disposable incomes.
My meander through the Mission District at nightfall, though, was downright sleepy.
Alamo Drafthouse New Mission closed, was along with all other Alamo locations. La Taqueria — with its sequentially-lit neon signage — was vacated a few days ago after the celebrated eatery penned a lengthy Instagram explanation.
Nearby Hit Fit SF shuttered; Casements Bar, the barely two-month-old Irish cocktail den which had plans to celebrate its first St. Patrick's Day today, folded and stored away its A-frame sign inside its locked front patio; Kitava adjusted both their hours and made it crystal clear that they'll only remain open for "takeout and delivery only."
Also, I can't remember the last time the 16th Street BART station was so absent of human life.
Though, there were notable survivors amongst all the abrupt closures: Smoke shops and convenience stores. (And Bernie Sanders campaign posters.) One of my favorite bodegas was doing business as usual, packed with patrons buying wines, beers, and the odd frozen meal. Cigarette and cigar emporiums — The Town Smoke Shop, City Smoke Shop, Farah Smoke Shops — were bustling with small crowds, albeit most of them not practicing proper social distancing etiquettes, dotted their entrance ways. The coarsely reviewed Prieta Hotel posted empty rooms were available: "WiFi daily and cable TV [included with set daily rents]."
Before scuttling back to my third-floor perch on 17th Street, it was difficult to shake loose the notion that the wellbeing of the unsheltered homeless, who comprised at least half the souls I saw on the streets Monday night, is still wildly in limbo. Governor Newsom is reportedly working on utilizing some of the state's hotels and motels to house the homeless. And the Examiner reports on a new proposal from District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston to make use of the largely vacant mixed-use development building at 555 Fulton Street to do the right thing: House local homeless families and seniors during San Francisco's active shelter-in-place order.
So, yes: Stay the fuck home, fellow San Franciscans and Bay Area folk. Try your damndest to only leave your abodes for essential tasks, i.e. hospital visits, to care for an ailing relative or loved one, needed grocery restocks, and to pick-up medication; take the pup out for a poop. Should you need to venture outside for such reasons, be kind to one another — from
The City of San Francisco put into motion the Give2SF fund last week for good-doers to donate toward, and those reserves will directly go to helping small businesses and individuals financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Related: Lockdown is Here: Bay Areawide ‘Shelter in Place’ Orders Go Into Effect at Midnight
California to Use Hotels and Motels to Shelter Homeless During Pandemic