Coronavirus Impact: SF-based Boba Guys may not be able to reopen all stores after COVID-19 pandemic ends

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Thursday, March 19, 2020
SF-based Boba Guys battling economic impact of COVID-19
"You guys are hearing it first," Boba Guys Co-Founder Andrew Chau tells ABC7 News that their popular bubble tea business with locations across the Bay Area, LA and New York may not be able to reopen some stores after the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Boba Guys, a popular bubble tea chain founded in San Francisco, is suspending business starting Friday, March 20 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Co-founder Andrew Chau shared that he's afraid they may not be able to reopen all their stores after they temporarily close.

"We like a lot of other companies had to shut a lot of our headquarters teams, the marketing teams, the sales teams, the catering teams, that will just not come back in the next few months," Chau said in an interview with ABC7 News. "We need to conserve our cash to stay alive."

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"We hope to open most of our stores back, but even some of our stores might not be financially viable to open back again and I think we have to accept that reality," Chau added. "Everybody says to plan for within four weeks, eight weeks timeline, so for me, we're thinking - I don't want to scare people - I'm going to be assuming its at least eight weeks and we really have to figure out how we're going to stay alive in this time."

Many other local businesses are feeling the economic impact and being forced to close temporarily amid the Bay Area shelter-in-place orders.

RELATED: Coronavirus impact: San Francisco bars, restaurants feel effects from COVID-19 concerns

In an Instagram post, the business shared that they don't know when all stores will open back up, but are touched by the community's support.

"Hopefully this is a see you later, and not a goodbye," the post writes.

Chau not only talked about battling the economic impacts of COVID-19, but also the cultural impacts novel coronavirus has on the Asian community. In a new social media campaign, #WashTheHate, Andrew Chau and other Asian social media influencers addressed racism and xenophobia amid the pandemic. Learn more about the campaign at their website here.

"Uncertainty and fear around the coronavirus are breeding acts of discrimination and violence against individuals of Asian descent. Lets #WashTheHate together," Chau wrote in his Instagram post.

RELATED: Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19

Boba Guys has nine stores in the Bay Area and also has locations in Los Angeles and New York. Bay Area locations will open from 12 p.m. until closing on Thursday and the business encourages patrons to order through Door Dash or Order Ahead.

Watch the full interview with Boba Guys Co-founder, Andrew Chau in the media player above.

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