Shopping indoors once again allowed in San Francisco

San Francisco stores are welcoming customers back inside.

Retail has been devastated since the stay-home order first went into place in March. Now, businesses are hoping that customers will return to shop local. 

Customers began lining up outside the Westfield Centre in downtown San Francisco three hours before the doors opened.

Customers said they prefer shopping in person to the online shopping they've been limited to for the last three months. 

"Man, it feels good. I've been waiting for a long time, been forced to buy everything online," said Santana Hudson. "So it feels good to physically get in here see the merchandize feel it, touch it, try it on."

The Westfield mall opened it's doors at 11 am. The mall released a statement saying it would be following health guidelines, including frequent cleanings, limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside, hand washing stations and encouraging social distancing.

"We are committed to providing the best experience possible for the community and for our teams, and are working closely with local officials and civic groups to ensure a safe and clean environment as businesses resume operations," the Westfield statement said. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman visited the Noe Valley area to celebrate the loosening of restrictions. 

Mandelman said the shelter in place may have saved lives, but it has devastated local businesses.

"Now that there is the ability to go out and buy stuff from your local store or patronize your local restaurant we need people to do that," said Mandelman.

City officials tells KTVU that although some restrictions are being eased, technically the stay-at-home order is still in place. The city says allowing shops to open or restaurants to serve is a minor adjustment that can be loosened or tightened depending on how the city is being impacted by the corona virus.

"If we get to a situation for example, where all of a sudden we start to gradually reopen, the businesses are reopening, people are moving, business as usual and then we see a spike in the number of cases and hospitalizations, we will need to make a decision as to dialing it back," said Breed.

Breed says the city has applied for a variance from the governors office to try to speed up the reopening process.