San Francisco Chinatown businesses impacted by coronavirus fears

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Nestled in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory cranks out fresh fortune cookies daily.

The place typically sees lines out the door.

“Roughly 500 come in just to see. Now you look at it, you know?”

Owner Kevin Chan said the new scene is just a handful of visitors each day after fears of the coronavirus spread.

He said it was slower even during one of their biggest celebrations.

“The Lunar New Year is supposed to be the time for us to welcome all the tourist,” Chan said. But this year nobody showed up, they’re just scared. The parade way less people.”

Chan said business is down 70 to 80-percent so he had to cut production.

“Normally I have three machines running. Today I only have one. I don’t want to make more cookies because we’re generating more cookies that’s not revolving,” he said. “Our goal here is to make cookies fresh every day. That’s why so many people come and I don’t want to make cookies to stack them here and never go because I don’t know when it’s going to end. It seems like at least a couple months from now.”

Impacting the livelihood of these merchants and how they’re treated.

“Chinese merchants they hit harder because everyone thinks the virus comes from China so they just don’t deal with the Chinese,” Chan said. “So they get less infected which is not fair.”

“It’s a legitimate concern I think because it started in China so they think all Chinese people carry this virus? Which you know I don’t think we do,” Sheila Au said.

Visitor Sheila Au said coronavirus scares aren’t stopping her from shopping in Chinatown, and hopes others will join her.

“We cannot be fearful of anything or any virus or any illness,” she said. “We have to live life and just go on.”

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