A Closer Look at Pandemic’s Impact on Asian American Businesses

Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, spoke to NBC News about the findings of a recent survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian-owned businesses. The survey of 400 Asian-owned businesses in Southern California found that a disproportionate number were forced to close their doors and fire staff during the pandemic. Ong explained that Asian-owned businesses tend to be in sectors that were the most impacted — such as food service, hospitality and retail — and that many of them didn’t have the money to keep their businesses open when profits took a nosedive. “The racism throughout the pandemic also led people to avoid businesses in Asian neighborhoods altogether,” Ong added. Many small businesses were unable to benefit from federal assistance programs due to language barriers and lack of outreach in Asian communities about the existence of such programs and their application processes.

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