Convenience stores in a 20-block area of the Tenderloin will not be allowed to stay open between midnight and 5 am for the next two years, as City Hall says those corner stores “attract significant nighttime drug activity."

About a two-and-a-half years into SF Mayor London Breed’s various Tenderloin fentanyl trade crackdowns, she introduced a new strategy in April that proposed to shut down Tenderloin convenience stores at midnight, and bar them from being open at any point between midnight and 5 am. Some of these corner stores were attracting drug dealers and buyers like moths to a flame, with SF City Attorney David Chiu saying, “there are a handful of late-night retail establishments in the Tenderloin that appear to attract significant nighttime drug activity."

And on Tuesday afternoon, the SF Board of Supervisors approved this plan to shut down corner stores in a 20-block area of the Tenderloin between the hours of midnight and 5 am. It’s a pilot program, and will remain in effect for two years. The supervisors approved the measure unanimously and without discussion, though there was plenty of discussion on Monday when the measure was before the supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation committee.

Image: SFGovTV

At that meeting, SFPD Commander Derrick Lew showed the above after-hours photo of one of the more notorious corner stores that attracts large crowds at night, Plaza Snacks & Deli at 77 McAllister Street — the same store around the corner from UN Plaza that was the site of a shooting just last week.

“I really consider this Ground Zero for the crowding issue that we see,” Lew told the committee. “It’s really a confluence of drug sales, illegal drug use, and illegal vending. In fact, this particular location was the scene of a shooting less than a week ago.”

“We believe it will be a very important and impactful tool to help the community and the city with the very overwhelming conditions we see here at nighttime in particular,” he added. “There was significant concern over the crowds that form during the nighttime. We’re talking about big crowds, in the hundreds sometimes.”

Image: SFGovTV

The 20-block area to which the rule will apply is described by SFPD as a “high crime” area, as shown in the crime “heat map” above. The late-night closure area is between O’Farrell, McAllister, Polk, and Jones streets.

But Supervisor Dean Preston added amendments to the legislation that allows some shops to stay open until 2 am if they are deemed “subject to regulation by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.”

Preston complained that Breed’s original legislation had an “overbroad application,” and that “It would have, in our view, unfairly punished some longtime small businesses in our community that have really been playing by the rules.”

Preston's office tells SFist via email that "the amendments will allow corner stores (already strictly regulated by ABC via their liquor licenses) to continue to stay open until 2 am, and add provisions to require outreach to businesses in language, enhanced neighborhood services, and a six-month report on the impact of the pilot on small businesses and the neighborhood."

Those amendments also call upon city departments to undertake enforcement efforts against businesses that are alleged to be engaged in illegal like onsite gambling, fraud, or other health and safety violations.

Preston’s amendments for 2 am exceptions for some stores passed along with the full measure.

The late-night business ban does not apply to restaurants, bars, or non-retail businesses in the Tenderloin.

Note: This post has been updated with comments from Supervisor Dean Preston's office.

Related: Latest City Hall Remedy for Tenderloin Street Circus Is Shutting Down Corner Stores at Midnight [SFist]

Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp