‘It’s a disaster’: Shopkeepers in San Francisco’s Chinatown ask for help after Far East Café closing news
It comes as the Far East Café, a Chinatown staple for over a hundred years, announced its closure next week amid the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s really sad to see Far East shutting down because it’s one of the best restaurants in Chinatown,” says Domingo Ortiz, who works nearby.
And there is a fear in this neighborhood that more businesses will close if help does not come soon.
“For Rent” and “For Sale” signs are already installed in the windows of vacant stores in the once bustling neighborhood.
Sam Chen of Magical Ice Cream tried to get a loan for a small business, but was turned down.
“I try about four times but I can’t,” Chen says.
The people across the street in New Age Camera tried to get a loan. They were also refused.
“Here is a disaster,” says Ortiz.
Eva Lee of the Chinatown Merchants Association says city leaders must help fight for these businesses by helping with grants and loans, or work to partner them with big businesses.
“What do we want our city to look like? Are we going to look like a typical suburb with only Targets and department stores? Is this what we want? The fabric of our city is being torn apart right now, ”says Lee.
And as the cityscape changes, lawmakers in Washington DC are debating whether to give individuals $ 600 or $ 2,000.
This is money that would not go to the companies, but would go to those who work in these places and barely make it.
“Like I told my wife last night, whatever amount helps, even if it’s $ 600,” Ortiz explains.
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