In a normal year, the celebrations include a parade, banquets and family dinners from the eve of Chinese New Year until 15 days after.
The Chinese American Service League distributed 150,000 KN-95 masks to 100 companies in Chinatown and 67 nonprofits in the greater Chicago area to celebrate the lunar new year.
« It should really help bridge relationships and make new friends with other communities, » said Paul Luu, CEO of the Chinese American Service League.
“The ox symbolizes strength. It’s strong, so people feel that maybe the ox will … fight the virus and eradicate the virus, « said Hong Liu, executive director of the Midwest Asian Health Association.
During most of Chicago in March As the effects of the coronavirus pandemic began to be felt, Chinatown responded in January, Liu said. Some New Year celebrations last year were canceled because of the virus.
While some COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in pharmacies in the area, the vaccinations don’t necessarily have to be based in Chinatown, said David Wu, executive director of the Pui Tak Center.
« I think people go online and just look for Walgreens. People are ready to drive 25 miles to get a vaccine, » said Wu. « So we’ll see how a community-based approach works … when it works. »
Registering for the vaccine also poses a challenge for elderly residents who often don’t have a smartphone, email or internet said Wu.
« Just like we spoke in the census and the vote, language is the biggest barrier to the community, » said Grace Chan McKibben, executive director of the Coalition for a Better Sino-American Community. « The other barrier, frankly, is that many grocery store and restaurant worker workers don’t have a GP, so they also have access to vaccines as much of the administration is in hospitals. »
MAHA kept a virtual town hall over the available Vaccines in Chinese, which was attended by 500 people, said Liu.
The new year is coming and with the vaccine distribution, the community continues to face an anti-Asian sentiment. There have been a handful of attacks on elderly Asian Americans in the United States in the past few days.
« Discrimination based on what is known as the » China Virus « … Criminal activity in our community is increasing. All this badly affected Chinatown, « said Liu.
» For us, it is because the Sino-American community is such a close community and that someone loses their life like that. It reminds people of how fragile their lives are It’s also a really tragic demonstration of how our dreams can collapse quickly, « said McKibben.
» Public safety is something a lot of community members really worry about, and I think people deserve a safe neighborhood . They deserve to feel safe and secure around them, « said Theresa Mah, Representative for Chinatown in Springfield.
The economic impact has been devastating for business in Chinatown. This includes restaurants, which are often fueled by tourism in the region.
« We have been very busy with local businesses here in Chinatown. Of course there are a lot of really good, excellent Chinese restaurants and lots of shops in the area. We were in the community and were hit by the virus very early on, before it spread to the US, « said Patrick McShane, president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of American Metro Bank.
» I think most of them of them survived, with the exception of the large ones, « said Mabel Moy, chairman of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. The larger restaurants with large banquet rooms are particularly troubled, she said.
The Triple Crown Restaurant is under eviction. It is one of the great restaurants in the community and a staple for 25 years. Last year, the restaurant defaulted on rent, according to owner Spencer Ng.
« You offered two months of free rent, half rent through late December 2020, and early January 2021 we were supposed to pay full rent, but the cost to me would be signing Triple Crown as collateral, trade name as collateral that wouldn’t make sense if I was basically trying to take my brand hostage, « said Spencer Ng of Triple Crown Restaurant.
William Dorsey, the landlord’s attorney, disagrees. « The landlord has made every effort to negotiate a reasonable settlement of this dispute before filing a lawsuit, but Triple Crown has not paid a single basic rent since April 2020, » Dorsey said in a statement.
Ng said the Relaxing indoor food restrictions allows his restaurant to accommodate more people, but business is still in significant decline – especially during the Lunar New Year when the restaurant is usually booked with banquets.
« Overall, it gets pretty pretty here in Chinatown gloomy, « said Ng. « Today is actually one of the busiest days I’ve seen since it’s Lunar New Year. »
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« Chicago Tonight » expands its community coverage. We take to the streets to speak to your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and executives about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. Use the map below to see where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. Or select a community from the drop-down menu. Red dots represent our COVID-19 series across Chicago. Blue marks our Chicago Tonight in Your Neighborhood series.
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