Your corner convenience store no longer has to close before sundown every night, as the 8 p.m. closure order has been quietly rescinded.
Boozebags and late-night Ben & Jerry’s bingers have really had to adjust their body clocks lately, because our corner stores of choice have been forced to close at 8 p.m. every night for nearly the last three months. San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s March 27 order stated that “large gatherings of individuals [had] been observed outside convenience stores and small grocery stores that sell alcohol in the nighttime hours,” and to help stop the spread of COVID-19, said liquor stores “must be closed to the public every day between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.”
But without much fanfare, that order has been quietly lifted, and your beloved corner convenience stores can resume their normal hours and sell alcohol until 2 a.m. once again — despite some new delays of other reopenings.
Our reopening process is guided by data and science.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) June 26, 2020
COVID-19 cases are rising throughout CA. We're now seeing a rise in cases in SF too. Our numbers are still low but rising rapidly.
As a result, we're temporarily delaying the re-openings that were scheduled for Monday.
And this is all the better, since many might have thought they could return to their neighborhood dives and tip a few back on the sidewalk starting next week, but that now looks like it won't be happening for at least a couple more weeks. So back to the corner store it is.
In a termination of 8 p.m. closure orders dated June 17, Mayor Breed formally ended her mandate that “requires certain essential businesses that sell alcohol to close between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. each day.” Her brief and little-noticed repeal from last week declared that “The circumstances no longer require the continuation of this Order to respond to the local emergency.”
The green light for corner stores to stay open past 8 p.m. again actually went into effect last Friday, June 19, at 6 a.m. It doesn’t necessarily mean that stores will resume their previous hours, it just means they have permission to do so. So a corner store that used to close at 2 a.m. might now only be open until, say, 10 or 11 p.m.
Word has been slow to get out, and many stores didn’t even know they’d been given permission to resume normal hours. One proprietor told SFist that he learned of this development through “Uber, Postmates,” because orders started mysteriously coming in from those services. So we tried to order a bottle of Bulleit off Postmates at 10:44 p.m. last night from an establishment that is open until 11, and sure enough, Postmates was taking that order.
Getting drunk has become an even more prominent pastime under shelter-in-place, and after 85 days of adjusting to 8 p.m. convenience store closing time, maybe having liquor stores open late again will help you get to sleep amidst the nightly cacophony of fireworks activity. But we must caution against any euphoria here, as San Francisco has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, and the Monday reopening of certain other business types is postponed. So if you’re going to head out for that late-night Bulleit or Ben and Jerry’s pint, please do wear the damned mask.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist, all taken after 8 p.m. Thursday night.