On that day last year there were only a handful of confirmed coronavirus cases in Victoria

But while most of the state was busy, Chinese companies were already getting a taste of the year ahead

Chinese leaders in the ward, finalizing their preparations for last year’s Lunar New Year celebrations – which falls tomorrow this year – faced an unexpected crisis

“There were a lot of rumors about WeChat too, and right away it was like a ghost town”

Mr. Zheng is the vice president of the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse As part of the committee organizing the 2020 Chinese New Year celebrations at Box Hill, he and his team had to decide what to do

In the end, they canceled the celebrations just days before the event

Chinatown in Melbourne’s central business district was also deserted Some companies reported an 80 percent decrease in patronage

Then Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton encouraged Melburnians to go to Chinese restaurants and events

GetUp! launched the #IWillEatWithYou campaign, saying, “While other restaurants and public areas are still busy, Chinatown restaurants and Asian grocers are empty”

As fear of COVID-19 spread, there were also reports of an increase in racial abuse against Asian Australians

While the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet apparent, it was evident that it was already hurting Asian businesses

In early February, before Melbourne had even considered its first lockdown, the pandemic called for one of its first scalps – popular Chinese restaurant Shark Fin House had to close after more than 30 years

“As far as I know, there are about three or four companies that have closed,” said Danny Doon, president of the Chinatown Precinct Association

As Chinatown prepares for muted celebrations for this lunar New Year, the past 12 months have been a “mixed bag” for businesses in the area

Mr. Doon believes that there aren’t enough people dining in the CBD to keep all the restaurants afloat

“Chinatown is suffering because there are no office workers in town, we have no students, we have no tourists,” he said

“I noticed that Box Hill still had a few stores to rent, but it’s still limited compared to places like Bridge Road and South Yarra,” said Zheng

“When you look around, it feels like everything is back to normal, but with no foreign visitors or students”

Still, the past 12 months have not been easy for Mr. Zheng and other small businesses

You have been a part of Australia for over 100 years.A pandemic has slowed you down, but those in your heart believe they can recover

The cafe his family owns on Box Hill Main Street has not reopened after the second lockdown, and Mr. Zheng has started to work in a new industry

“Before COVID, we looked after a lot of the people who work at Box Hill Now that people are working from home, our business has collapsed, “he said,

The family plans to open a Chinese restaurant on the same premises while Mr. Zheng pursues a business opportunity in biotech

Yvett Kerr, who owns the Yang Yang grocery store in Box Hill Central, said her business is the quietest in 20 years and government support is waning

“It’s very depressing – borders are closed, people are spending less,” said Ms. Kerr

Pedestrian traffic for chicken shop owner Tao Chen is still low So he joined a local delivery initiative to get his products out to customers without the high commissions of other food delivery platforms

This Chinese New Year’s CBD in Melbourne will do without the Millennium Dragon Parade The Box Hill Chinese New Year Festival has been canceled, as has the festival in the city of Monash

Despite street parades being canceled, Asian business owners are hoping the community will come out to celebrate with their families

“Although we are still very cautious and have to follow the COVID safe plan, the families will still be eating at the restaurant, a Chinese New Year banquet,” Doon said

We recognize the Aboriginal people and the Torres Strait Islander as the first Australians and traditional administrators of the countries where we live, learn and work

This service may contain material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN, and the BBC World Service that is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Chinese New Year

World News – AU – COVID-19 Has Been Brutal For Chinese Companies Will this Lunar New Year have more luck?

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-11/chinese-businesses-still-affected-by-covid-this-lunar-new-year/13136646