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Blue City Board Wants To Let Residents Sue Grocery Stores For Closing

Two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced an ordinance to be considered that would require grocery stores to provide six-months notice before closing, or be liable for a lawsuit.

Supervisors Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin introduced the ordinance on Tuesday, which would also require that operators of supermarkets in the area make a “good faith” effort to continue services at the location, such as selling the store to another operator, according to the bill. The bill does provide room for grocery stores to close before the six-month requirement due to “not reasonably foreseeable” circumstances such as a natural disaster or emergency, or if the supermarket can articulate in writing a reason for the reduced notification period.

“Nevertheless, given the life-sustaining services a supermarket provides to residents in the neighborhood, and the important role it plays in strengthening and stabilizing the community it serves, an owner has a responsibility as an integral part of that community to undertake a reasonable effort to work with neighborhood residents and the City to explore opportunities to remain open for business, or to identify a replacement supermarket,” the bill reads.

Failing to comply with the ordinance could open up the supermarket to lawsuits from residents who claim that they have suffered damages from the closure, according to the bill. The bill includes a clause noting that the city and its officers are not entitled to pay citizens who were harmed by a store closure, unlike the stores.

A similar policy was passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1984, but was then promptly vetoed by the then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who went on to serve as one of the state’s senators, according to Reason.

“It was a good idea then, and it’s an even better idea now,” Preston said about the ordinance in January, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We need notice, we need transparency, community input, and a transition plan when major neighborhood grocery stores plan to shut their doors.”

San Francisco has experienced an uptick in larceny over the last few years, with a number of stores closing locations in the area. A Walgreens in the city last July went so far as to chain up the freezer section after shoplifters targeted ice cream and pizza.

Preston and Peskin did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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