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Economy

Chinatown Businesses Face a Particularly Brutal Winter

Yelp data shows that historic Chinatowns in several U.S. cities have been enduring an economic downturn longer and more severe than in surrounding metros. 

Chinatowns in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others U.S. cities have been hard hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chinatowns in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others U.S. cities have been hard hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images 

Weeks before the first reported U.S. case of Covid-19, the future pandemic was already inflicting economic damage in the Chinatowns of several U.S. cities. During what should have been the busiest time of the year in these Asian-American enclaves, business was down. 

In January 2020, dim sum parlors and banquet halls in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown noticed a drop in reservations. A conspicuously thin crowd gathered to watch San Francisco’s Lunar New Year parade on Feb. 8. At a grocery store in Houston’s Chinatown, sales fell overnight.