From Flickr Creative commons by Shubert Ciencia
After several difficult months for businesses in San Francisco’s Chinatown, residents and business owners find hope in the recent passage of an ordinance that would direct $1.9 million towards supporting restaurants and food service in Chinatown, The Business Journals reports. This measure received unanimous approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The funds from this proposal would be used to accomplish a multiplitude of goals from helping restaurants stay open and continue to pay employees to providing vulnerable residents with meal vouchers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The latter goal also serves to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the shared kitchens of single-room occupancy hotels.
To accomplish these goals, the $1.9 million would help fund the Chinatown Community Development Center’s (CCDC) established “Feed + Fuel Chinatown” program, which was established earlier in the pandemic to provide residents with meal vouchers to various struggling Chinatown restaurants.
CCDC hopes to expand the program from 34 participating restaurants to up to 60 or 70, including historical businesses like Far East Cafe, which announced last month that it would be closing by the end of 2020. The money means it will be able to stay open. The center will be contributing an additional $100,000 together with another $500,000 from the mayor’s office, to bring the total to $2.5 million, the Chronicle reports.
This funding comes at a critical time: Lunar New Year, which is when Chinatown traditionally receives approximately 30% of its income, according to CCDC Executive Director Malcom Yeung. “The timeliness of this program is really critical,” he said. “We’re in a moment right now where we don’t have Chinese New Year in the traditional way, and this is the second year in a row.”
Before the funds can be used in full, however, the ordinance must pass a final vote next week before being signed by Mayor London Breed into law. However, Chinatown leaders are confident that the legislation will reach Breed’s desk after receiving 9 co-sponsors since its introduction by Supervisor Aaron Peskin of District 3, which includes Chinatown.
“We’re ready to fight to preserve this iconic neighborhood and this is one small step toward that,” Peskin said, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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