SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The hustle and bustle at the iconic Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is no longer. When the novel coronavirus came to the Bay Area and San Francisco officials declared a shelter-in-place, business evaporated overnight.
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Normally, tourists crowd into the 57-year-old business, clamoring for a sample of a freshly made fortune cookie.
We asked Kevin Chan what the scene looks like now at his family's shop tucked away in a Chinatown alley. "The streets are empty," he replied. "Not even one customer."
A few weeks ago, the fortune cookie factory was ramping up production, anticipating a rush of tourists during spring break and Easter vacation. This week, they found themselves left with 50,000 extra fortune cookies, and no interested customers.
But Chan wasn't willing to let fresh fortune cookies go to waste. He donated the 50,000 cookies to those on the front lines, fighting COVID-19. The Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo sheriff's departments all received a box of cookies, as did the staff at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland.
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"People need a good luck fortune right now," said Chan. "Throughout the years, we have never faced this kind of tough situation. Even 9/11 was not this tough. This is worse than World War III. In war, at least you know what might happen. But the virus is everywhere."
Like many other local businesses, Chan is struggling to plan for the future. He anticipates closing the shop in the short-term and hopes to reopen when normalcy is restored.
"I know business is very important, but health is even more important," he said. "I really want people to hang on and stay positive. Tomorrow will be better. My fortune to them is to stay healthy and beat the virus."
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