Coronavirus Update New York City: How Chinatown businesses are fighting to survive the pandemic

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- So many businesses have suffered greatly during the coronavirus pandemic and in Chinatown, a community that's suffered from the get-go, businesses are fighting to survive.

At Jing Fong in Chinatown, along with the food descriptions in the window, are signs notifying customers that employees are tested for COVID-19.

"In the beginning, our staff was a little nervous because no one wanted to deal with the reality of a positive case," Jing Fong's Claudia Leo said.

But Leo said the staff now looks forward to the weekly tests.

"You could say now they're happier that they're negative, going back to their family and multi-generational households," Leo said.

Jing Fong is one of 16 restaurants and businesses in the neighborhood doing the testing thanks to the Chinatown Rotary Club.

"We partnered with Mirimus Labs, a young upstart lab that developed a saliva test technique, and they're doing pool testing once a week," the rotary club's Taylor Eskew said.

The rotary club has also been giving out personal protective equipment including several thousand masks given to those partner businesses on Thursday.

The masks were donated by a family foundation in Maine with the goal to give out one million masks.

The rotary club has also been offering strategic advice to help the businesses survive.

"We can't bring the tourist back, we can't pay their rent, but we can do the other things that help them get through," Eskew said.

The three months of free COVID-19 testing is coming to an end and it will be up to the businesses to decide whether to continue the testing and cover the expenses.

The tests cost about $10 each and Tim Wong, a real estate attorney, said he will continue testing his handful of employees.

"The testing has been very reassuring," Wong said. "The rotary club has negotiated a good price so we'll continue with it until we're vaccinated."

But the path forward on testing isn't as clear for Jing Fong since they have many employees.

"We're going to have to review and see and hopefully we're able to cover the costs of that," Leo said.

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