Businesses in Oakland’s Chinatown have switched from enforcing a cash-only policy to accepting credit and debit card transactions to prevent the number of anti-Asian attacks from rising in the city.
Speaking to KPIX 5, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan said that convincing stores to convert has been a decade-long project for him, but he understands why it took them this long to finally go from cash-only to card-only.
“It’s almost like pulling teeth – even harder than that. I understand why – their profit margin is so low and if they’re using credit cards, there will be fees involved,” he said.
The string of attacks targeting elderly Asians who carry cash played a role in convincing Oakland’s Chinatown businesses to change their payment methods. Chan explained that people would normally go to the bank to withdraw their money before going to the stores to buy their necessities.
Asian-owned stores were also targeted during the surge of attacks in Oakland’s Chinatown.
“People who are trying to rob a store seeing ‘cash only’ and that’s most likely the one that they want to pick and choose,” Chan said.
The recent move came months after Chan wrote a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to declare a state of emergency in Oakland’s Chinatown in the wake of rising crime rates in the area, ABC7 News reported.
In response, Newsom agreed to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s request to deploy more law enforcement support to keep the city safe.
“We are responding to the demands from our residents for more law enforcement safety and I am going to continue to look for every resource,” Schaaf said in a statement.
The recent changes have yielded positive effects on the businesses in the area. Jenny Wu, an employee of Big Dish in Oakland’s Chinatown, told KPIX 5 that more customers are eating at the restaurant and spending more on meals using their cards.