SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Call it irony. Bay Area health officials issued the shelter-in-place order to try to protect the most vulnerable people in our society. Yet, the first ticket for violating the order in San Francisco was handed out to an 86-year-old grandfather.
“I understand the purpose of the stay-at-home order, although I think it’s a little bit overreached,” said Ron Konopaski of San Francisco.
Police officers issued the citation to Konopaski Thursday morning in front of the Valencia Street Planned Parenthood. The anti-abortion advocate has had a small booth outside of the clinic since February.
The Star of the Sea Catholic Church parishioner argued he conducted essential business by providing options to pregnant women.
“Once they get inside, they’re only offered one option and that’s an abortion. And so, we’re outside, to try to give them another choice that they can keep their baby and we can help them with any problems they have,” said Konopaski.
Police had talked to him on Tuesday, given him a warning on Wednesday, and finally on Thursday, they wrote him a ticket.
Police Chief William “Bill” Scott said they’re cracking down on businesses and individuals who repeatedly violate the health order.
“We’re not warning you twice. So please heed to these orders. We’re trying to save lives,” warned Chief Scott at a Friday press conference.
The chief said his officers have already broken up soccer and basketball games at parks and issued warnings to non-essential businesses that stayed open.
KPIX 5 found a book and gift store that stayed open on Saturday. The business owner said he’s got an essential business. His store sells Chinese newspapers and thus helps Chinese seniors to stay informed.
As for Konopaski, he won’t be going back to Planned Parenthood anytime soon. Officers warned they would arrest him if he does.
“I’m 86 years old. I’ve got to go sometime and if it’s the coronavirus, well, so what’s the difference?” Asked Konopaski.
He will find out how much the ticket will cost when he goes to court on April 27. Konopaski said he intends to fight the ticket.