'Trying to adapt, its been challenging': How COVID-19 has changed the way of life for a family and business owner one year later

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The economic impact the pandemic has caused in so many communities in the Chicagoland area has altered the lives and the way of living for so many. A family business from the Chinatown community is at the brink of closure and a family of four in the Little Village community are facing work and food insecurity.

"We've been in China Town since 96' so that's 25 years. It's meant everything to our family. This is what put me and my brothers through school. This is a gathering place for holidays and for our immediate family also," said Spencer Ng, second generation over of Chinatown's Triple Crown Restaurant.

Ng said this year has been tough on his business, saying business dropped by 60 percent when the pandemic hit.

"We had our record year in 2019 and then when 2020 came, it just turned everything upside down," said Ng.

With no outdoor seating, the restaurant owner said it's been difficult to keep the 200 seat restaurant afloat. He is not facing eviction.

The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce did a survey in November of 150 businesses were over 90 percent of businesses are still operating, but struggling.

"We found that 64 percent of businesses are experiencing more than 50percent of revenue loss compared to the same period of 2019," said Emma Yu, Executive Director of Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

On the West Side's Little Village community, Claudia Rosales' family have had to adjust to a life of job and food insecurity.

"I don't know when's the next time I'll have money coming in," said Rosales.

Rosales said work has been unreliable since April of last year. The mother of two said she's in nine temp agencies but hasn't received any hours in weeks. She has had to buy and prepare meals under $20 stretching for days to save extra cash.

"It went from working everyday to working four days, to working two days, to working once in a while," said Rosales.

The mother of two believes the jobs dried up as companies worries about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, Little Village has had over 230 COVID deaths so far, the most of any zip code in Chicago.

"Its sad because you may not know the people one on one but they are people from the community. Everybody knows one another."

Both Rosales and Ng said it's been a tough and challenging year.
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