SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto walked Chinatown for California’s reopening day and visited several merchants who’ve been struggling to stay open throughout this pandemic.
Unfortunately, many of those shops that closed at the beginning of the pandemic remained closed today.
Chinatown’s economy has been hardest hit during this last year and on top of that, they’re battling recent attacks and hate against the Asian community.
San Francisco Chinatown merchants hoping that the statewide reopen brings business back to this neighborhood which was the first area to see a slow in foot traffic ahead of shelter in place orders last year.
“We depend on tourism. The past 14, 16 months, no one showed up. Now we struggle. Today’s our reopening day and I’m ready,” Kevin Chan said.
Kevin Chan owns Golden Gate Fortune Cooking Factory which has become a Chinatown staple over the years after firing up fresh fortune cookies for 59 years but in its nearly six decades-long history, Chan says he’s never seen anything like this.
Of the more than 200 businesses that operated in this corridor before the pandemic, only 45 were open last month and many remain closed on Tuesday.
“Chinatown during COVID hit the most and it’s not the numbers. It’s the economy that’s been hit the most so we need people to come out and fight the economy. Now as you’ll see on Grant Avenue, all the stores are closing and they won’t be able to open because of this,” Chan said.
Plus, merchants here have either seen or experienced anti-Asian hate and attacks in recent months.
That’s why Sheriff Paul Miyamoto visited the neighborhood on Tuesday to encourage more people to come back to Chinatown and reinforce the need for the safety of its residents and visitors.
“I think it’s important to focus on two things: not just resiliency and bringing business back to the community but also because of all the recent challenges we’ve have with anti AAPI crimes and hate behaviors that I really wanted to engage with the community, come out and say hey if we all take care of each other we will all stay safe,” Sheriff Miyamoto said.
While the Chinatown community focuses on bringing business back to the neighborhood, merchants say they’re just as concerned about safety.
In addition to local patrols, the sheriff says we all need to help keep each other safe.
That means reporting crimes and if you see something, say something.