As the global pandemic of COVID-19 continues with a delta variant that is quickly sweeping across the globe, attacks against Asian Americans has unfortunately continued. Many elderly Asians have been attacked, beaten, robbed, stabbed. Asian restaurant workers have been attacked going home after dark. It’s been an unfortunate time for Asians in America, and it’s instilled a lot of fear in Asian business owners, who not only want to continue running their businesses obviously, but also care about the well-being and safety of their workers. And for that reason, many across Manhattan Chinatown, as with some other Chinatowns across the country, have decided to shorten their hours to allow their workers to get home safely during daylight hours. Most businesses that typically closed in the middle or late evening are now shutting down for the day by 5 to 7pm. Others that used to stay open until 7 or 8 are now closing their doors by 4 or 5pm. It’s been really sad to see this. Even Hong Kong Supermarket is now closing at around 6pm here, and it’s a major grocery store in Chinatown. When we were planning to go have Thai food in Chinatown this evening as our usual tradition around the anniversary of Ed’s passing to have a meal he would have enjoyed, I checked to see if Chun Yang Tea would still be open by the time we finished dinner. I’d been wanting to visit here for a long time since they opened, as they are the spin off of the very original bubble tea house in Taichung, Taiwan. I especially was eager to go when I found out they started a partnership with a local, Asian owned ice cream business to make a hojicha ice cream latte. Unfortunately, they have shortened their hours, as well, as they close every day by 7pm now.
It’s been depressing to see the racist acts in the news, the rate of Asian hate crimes increase during the pandemic. And it’s also been sad to see Asian businesses close early out of fear. I hope this doesn’t continue forever. Chinatown will only lose business if this all keeps up. We need to keep Chinatown alive.