Despite coronavirus fears, SF's Chinese New Year parade, community fair forge on

Participants hoist a dragon at the 2019 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
By Cheryl Guerrero - Published on February 07, 2020.

Concerns over the coronavirus have prompted several cities in California to cancel their Lunar New Year celebrations. But San Francisco is still set to proceed with this weekend's Chinese New Year Parade and Community Fair.

With no diagnosed cases of the virus in San Francisco, the Director of Public Health has said there is no reason to cancel any public events. A husband and wife are hospitalized with the virus at UCSF, but they were brought in for treatment from San Benito County, near Salinas.

“The plan is to move forward,” Mayor London Breed said last Sunday. The parade, named as one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association, is still scheduled for tomorrow night. 

There have been a few small speed bumps. Ed Lew, general service director and board member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, told Hoodline that the Chonquing Ballet of China, which was supposed to perform at last week's Miss Chinatown USA pageant, had to cancel its trip.

The ballet, based in a province neighboring the virus' epicenter in Wuhan, was barred from leaving China as a precautionary measure.

As of Friday, there were more than 31,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide, the vast majority of them in mainland China. There are currently 12 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Some of America's Chinatowns have been reporting depressed business in the wake of the coronavirus scare. But Lew said there wasn't a notable effect on attendance at last weekend's Miss Chinatown pageant and Flower Market. “People are still coming out," he said.

The Chamber of Commerce will be providing face masks for parade volunteers who want them, he said. “The parade must go on."

The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade will kick off at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday at the corner of Market and Second streets, before winding its way around Union Square and into Chinatown.

The Community Fair, located on Grant Avenue, will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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