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Grants being offered to help Chinatown restaurant owners set up outdoor dining

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Chinatown is now a ghost town with many shops and restaurants gated up, as tourism has dried up.

Community leaders also blame unreasonable xenophobia towards the Chinese community in the light of the pandemic keeping patrons away.

And that has the over 200 restaurants in this area barely holding on.

“Many report a revenue loss of 70% and the possibility of closing permanently,” Harlan Wong, with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said.

A recent survey found as high as a third weren’t sure if they could survive another six months.

While the city has established the shared spaces program that allows tables to be set up in the parking lane, very few in Chinatown have taken advantage of it.

Now the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Chinatown Community Development Corporation are setting aside $25,000 to help encourage more outside dining here. 

Restaurants can apply for a one time grant of $500 to help set up outdoor seating areas, they will also get four barricades to separate their outdoor areas from traffic.

“The participants of this program must comply with the most current Department of Public Health protocols, such as wearing a mask, washing hands, sanitizing, and cleaning dining areas and being aware of social distancing and they must apply for a shared space program permit with the city of San Francisco,” Wong said.

The idea being once more restaurants put more tables outside, more customers will come out to eat which will hopefully encourage more merchants to reopen and rehire their laid off workers.

These grants are just open to dining establishments in Chinatown.

It’s first come first serve.

The deadline to submit applications to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce is August 14th.

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