San Francisco

SF's Chinatown Businesses Welcomes Back Tourists After COVID-19 Closure

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As San Francisco reopens and begins welcoming visitors back, there was a significant return in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood.

A big banquet was held Friday, which some believe is a key step toward bouncing back.

At the Far East Café, having a banquet Friday was a big milestone and they’re hoping that more events like this will help the whole neighborhood in its recovery. Upstairs at the Chinatown restaurant, the room was buzzing.

A return to the type of gatherings that happened before the pandemic. Bill lee is the owner.

“This is the biggest banquet I hope that it can keep going keep going and help for the community and bring more business to Chinatown,” said Bill Lee of Far East Café.

The longtime restaurant was nearly closed, and other banquet halls have shuttered.

For many people, seeing this kind of event at the ‘far east café’ again is a welcome sight.

“The banquet hall is such an important part of Chinese culture because this is where a lot of family associations a lot of the organization have their meeting their gathering its where a lot of associations,” said Harlan Wong, of the Chinese Chamber Of Commerce.

And for networking, Harlan Wong is with the Chinese chamber of commerce, Friday was the installation of their new board. The mayor came for the swearing in.

“This particular Chinese chamber of commerce has been absolutely incredible in providing resources and support for a number of businesses here and it’s one of the first banquets that we’re seeing as a result of after the pandemic after the reopening,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

For a community that has faced attacks and loss of business during COVID-19, many say the banquet is part of their resiliency. They want to get the word out again, to come visit Chinatown.

“We need to tell tourist to the message out there that we’re safe and that we’re vaccinated. San Francisco been one of the higher percentage of people vaccinated,” Harlan added.

International travel is still off, and full economic recovery will take time. But at the Wok Shop, they’re seeing more customers recently and hope it continues to grow.

“They’re all in good mood and they’re buying so I don’t know if they have been shelter in place and we have freedom and our weather is beautiful and it’s just such a welcoming sight,” said Tane Chan of the Wok Shop.

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