'It's a disaster:' SF Chinatown merchants, denied loans, speak out after 100-year-old staple forced to close

This comes as news that Far East Café, a staple in Chinatown for more than a hundred years, announced they will close next week.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Business owners in San Francisco's Chinatown are speaking out, demanding that the city do more to help them.

This comes as news that Far East Café, a staple in Chinatown for more than a hundred years, announced they will close next week amid the coronavirus crisis.

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"That's really sad to see that Far East is closing because it's one of the best restaurants in Chinatown," says Domingo Ortiz who works nearby.

And there is a fear in this neighborhood that more businesses will close if help doesn't come soon.

"For Rent" and "For Sale" signs already sit in the windows of vacant storefronts in the once-bustling area.

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Denis Xenos, the owner of Denis' Country Kitchen in Lodi, California, claims to have found a loophole to legally keep his small business open against the state's stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam Chen of Magical Ice Cream tried for a small business loan, but was denied.

"I do try like four times but I couldn't get it," says Chen.

Those across the street at New Age Camera tried for a loan. They were denied as well.

"Over here it is a disaster," says Ortiz.

Eva Lee of the Chinatown Merchants Association says city leaders need to help fight for these businesses by helping with grants and loans, or work to partner them with big companies.

RELATED: How SF's Chinatown is planning to lure locals back for the holidays

"What do we want our city to look like? Are we going to be like a typical suburbia with just Targets and big stores left? Is that what we want? The fabric of our city is being torn apart right now," says Lee.

And as the city landscape changes, lawmakers in Washington D.C. are arguing about whether to give $600 or $2,000 to individuals.

It's money that wouldn't go to businesses, but would go to those who work in these locations and are barely getting by.

"Like I told my wife last night, anything the amount helps even if it's 600 dollars," says Ortiz.

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