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  • Writer's pictureKathy Chin Leong

Gimmy Park Li

Tour Guide for Wok Wiz

How has the virus changed Chinatown?

My last tour was March 11. It was a mother and her daughter from Texas. It was a typical beautiful weather day. They enjoyed it. And March 17 we had shelter-in-place. And I have not been there to Chinatown since, but I heard some things are boarded up to protect businesses from vandals.

How has it changed the nature of your organization?

Tourism is gone. People who were on the calendar cancelled. I don’t know when it will go back to normal. It is so sad for Chinatown. I’m surprised there has been no outbreak.

How has this impacted you personally?

I am one of seven tour guides, and we are among the retired older group. We are okay. Guiding is not my primary means of income. I have been in the radio business for 30 years. My biggest concern is the viability of Chinatown. It is a tourist area, and that is what drives the economy. Travelers and visitors buy things in the souvenir shops. The shopkeepers used to stay open to sell all those little things like magnets. It is a big deal to a lot of tourists. I miss giving tours, but it is not the time right now.

What will it take for Chinatown to recover?

We have to have people come and shop and have lunch. People have to come back. When restrictions change though, it won’t be the same.

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