Businesses in L.A.’s Chinatown begin to feel sting of coronavirus scare

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A man walks in Chinatown in Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A man walks in Chinatown in Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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The traditional archway that welcomes all to Chinatown’s Central Plaza on North Broadway in downtown Los Angeles greeted few visitors last week.

The usually vibrant hub for Chinese culture, food and souvenirs more closely resembled a ghost town. Street parking and restaurant seating were readily available in the historic neighborhood known for its colorful pagoda-style buildings, art galleries and plazas strewn with bright red lanterns and neon-lined rooftops.

“It’s kind of spooky around here,” said Robert Hernandez, 39, of Echo Park. “I found parking kind of easy on the street, which is always a problem. I guess I didn’t expect this place to be so empty.”

Though there has yet to be a single documented case of the new coronavirus connected to Chinatown, the popular gathering spot has seen growing fear drive away customers in recent weeks, jeopardizing long-established businesses.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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