'It's hardship for everyone': Indoor malls close again after San Francisco lands on state's watch list

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Starting Monday, non-essential offices and indoor malls in San Francisco must close after becoming the latest city to land on the state's watch list for increased cases of COVID-19.

"We were told this morning, we've got to shutdown all indoor operations," Greg Viloria from Japan Center told ABC7 News on Sunday.

It's what many retailers inside the Japan Center Mall had feared, doors must close on Monday.

RELATED: San Francisco added to state coronavirus watch list, mayor says

Andy Ma, just reopened his Yumi Boutique around July 1 after being closed since March.

"It's hardship for everyone, hard to overcome this, but safety first I guess," Ma said.

This mall has been the anchor of Japantown for 53 years, dozens of longtime family owned specialty stores call it home. But the pandemic has forced some out of business.

"I've seen shutdowns around here, a few people weren't able to sustain it, we're thinking the same thing," said Stephen Jordan, owner of Sakura Sakura.

Restaurants say they can't do take out if customers can't get inside the mall. Japan Center management was trying to get permission from the Department of Health for restaurants inside the mall to do curbside pickup.

RELATED: INTERACTIVE MAP: Here's what's open, closed in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market street is also ordered to close operations. Syed Sajjad reopened his perfume store just this past Saturday.

"It's sad, this pandemic you can't do anything but stay home,"said Sajjad.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce fears many businesses can't afford another closure and reopening.

"We've done a survey, over 47% of our chamber business members have lost 100% of sales or shut down permanently," said Jay Cheng, Public Policy Director for the SF Chamber of Commerce.

Market Street is surreal on Monday morning - it is so empty - people say it is sad to watch as favorite stores and restaurants are starting to disappear

"It's very strange, either they are boarded up or up for lease - gone completely - and I am sure there is going to be more of that. There are a few essential workers, a lot of homeless people, streets are clean because they are being cleaned and not being used," said San Juan Bautista resident Nancy Lofdahl.

Many wish that people would do their part to stop the spread so businesses can be open.

"This is my San Francisco and it's just not the same anymore because of people not wanting to wear masks, and if we would wear masks everything would change and I just pray everyone will do that," said San Francisco resident Marina Lugo.

City officials agree that people need to stay 6-feet apart and wear their masks.

RELATED: Coronavirus pandemic: Face coverings required in San Francisco starting at midnight

Some business owners say they are worried they won't be able to survive this second wave of shutdowns.

The city has not said how long this shutdown will last.

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