SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The COVID-19 omicron surge is dealing the San Francisco Chinatown business community yet another blow.
Organizers canceled a Lunar New Year street fair that was supposed to take place next week.READ MORE: Oakland Police Arrest Homicide Suspect Who Fatally Shot Male Victim, Fired at Firefighters
The merchants had hoped the street fair would boost foot traffic and bring in extra money. But with the omicron variant, they said it wasn’t safe to move forward.
Many business owners complained it felt like March 2020 again with a lot of closures, cancellations, and uncertainties.
“It’s really slow and it doesn’t have that much tourists coming,” said Linda Liu, who works in the Chinatown area.
Liu noticed foot traffic has declined a lot in recent weeks.
“It kind of hurts businesses, especially the small businesses,” Liu told KPIX 5.
A business leader told KPIX 5 things were looking up this past summer with visitors returning to Chinatown. They thought the pandemic was nearing an end, but omicron changed all of that.READ MORE: San Francisco Police Arrest Man Suspected of Carjacking Uber Driver in SoMa
The surge in cases has forced the Chinatown Neighborhood Association to cancel next week’s annual Chinese New Year Street Fair on Stockton Street. It was canceled last year as well.
“It’s good to cancel. No one is going to come out even if they have the street fair. A lot of people are scared to walk on crowded sidewalks,” said Bao Huing in Cantonese, who owns Tian Long Appliance Corp on Stockton Street.
Huing said the street fair would’ve been very beneficial for her, with more visitors often meaning more money.
“Before the pandemic, a lot of people attended the street fair. And that helped our business,” said Huing.
The annual event is typically held two weeks before Lunar New Year to give an early jump start to the celebration. Lunar New Fear falls on February 1 this year.
“I think it’s really sad of the cancellation. Not just for the Chinese community, but for everyone,” said Liu.
The canceled street fair on Stockton Street is organized by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association. It’s not related to the annual San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, put together by the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber said the Flower Market Fair, Miss Chinatown Coronation, Community Street Fair, and Chinese New Year Parade are still scheduled to take place.
Organizers said as of Friday that the parade is still scheduled for February 19th.MORE NEWS: 49ers Playoffs: Faithful Gear Up As Showdown Vs. Packers Nears
A full calendar of the SF Chinese Chamber of Commerce new year events can be found at https://chineseparade.com/events-calendar/