Oakland Chinatown kicks off StreetFest Fridays

OAKLAND — The Oakland Chinatown StreetFest is kicking off today — and will run on Fridays through August — with outdoor dining areas in the heart of the district.

Today’s event is from 4 to 8 p.m. on Ninth Street between Franklin and Webster streets.

The aim is to encourage customers to order takeout food from neighborhood restaurants and to support local merchants, according to the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in a news release.

Customers will be able to choose from a range of foods, including appetizers, noodles, dumplings, seafood, vegetarian dishes, pastries, bubble tea and specialty drinks from restaurants. And people will be able to sit at any one of 35 tables on Ninth Street, while maintaining social distancing.

“Thanks to the city’s Flex Street Initiative Program, I am glad that we are the first street closure project to provide outdoor dining for Chinatown businesses,” Carl Chan, president of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release. “We would like to welcome the customers back to support our merchants who are ready to reopen their businesses.”

According to Chan, the businesses in Chinatown took an economic hit even before the shelter-in-place order was imposed in mid-March, and suffered a setback because of lootings in May.

“All our merchants have no outdoor dining seating, and the sidewalks in Chinatown is narrow and not ideal for tables and chairs arrangement,” said Jessica Chen, chamber executive director. “By creating a cafeteria-style outdoor dining area, we can have the food lovers enjoy Chinatown cuisines and maintain a safe distance.”

The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce will provide dining tables and chairs on Ninth Street with music and light entertainment. It will follow Alameda County’s health orders by having the tables and chairs sanitized before the event and the tables will be cleaned after every use. There will also be a wash station and hand sanitizers, and masks and social distancing will be required.

Oakland Chinatown StreetFest Fridays are being hosted by Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Port of Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Oakland Athletics, Gateway Bank, Wells Fargo and Airbnb.

For more information, go to www.oaklandchinatownchamber.org/streetfestfridays2020.

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