With a fully vaccinated rate over 54% of the entire population, relaxed mask mandates and social distancing, it looked like America was slowly but steadily going back to the normal. However, a new issue like the notorious Delta variant is constantly breaking the surface, making everyone unsure about how and when we can finally go back to an ideal, COVID-free condition. Ultimately, many businesses are suffering because customers are unwilling to visit the stores in order to avoid unnecessary contact.
Businesses in Koreatown are no exception to this. Whereas most of them reopened after their closure during the pandemic, it is still a question whether or not they, particularly those involving indoor activities, are truly safe. According to what we have witnessed it looks like they are trying their utmost best to provide customers with the safest experiences lest they get exposed to the virus.
ON Nail and Spa gives a trusted and quality spa and nail service to many people who visit the area. Initially opened as 23 Nail and Spa, it was temporarily closed for a while, then reopened in February 2021 under the current name in the saturated market of nail salons. Because this service requires a very intimate contact between a technician and a customer, their safety has always been called into question in a situation of pandemic. There are two entrances in the front and the back but the front gate is closed to prevent any hazards.
Most of the seats are equipped with hand sanitizers so customers can easily reach to clean their hands. All employees were wearing a mask as a sign on the wall reads, ‘Our employees are wearing face masks. We ask that you wear yours too’. “If customers don’t have one, we even provide one at the entrance so no worries.” said one of the nail specialists.
When asked what kind of special measures they are taking to avoid the spread of the virus, they listed a handful. Basic measures include leaving a 6-feet space between the nail tables and installing sneeze guards for each and every one of them. They have changed all the equipment to disposable ones, including nail tips, files, and containers to minimize the contact between customers and spread of germs. On top of that, they often sanitize the whole venue with alcohol which makes the whole place more hygienic.
K-Town PC is one of the well-known PC cafes in Koreatown LA. Two signs at the door read ‘Safety First: Body Temperature Check Required’ and ‘Please Wear a Face Mask’.
At the entrance, an electronic screen board greets everyone as it scans and checks the body temperature of the guests. A wooden board on an easel has multiple signs that read ‘PLEASE WEAR A PROPER MASK FOR EVERYONE’S SAFETY: cloth, bandanas, scarves ARE NOT considered a proper mask!’ or ‘PLEASE DO NOT WANDER WITHOUT A MASK’.
Aside from COVID safety measures, there is also a notice that informs prohibition of smoking and liability of $250 fine and fire alarm for cigarettes which ensures safety and cleanliness of the gaming environment.
This was impressive, because in Korea, many PC Cafes are prone to becoming smoking areas as they do not enforce this non-smoking policy. Here in America, the regulation is reinforced and everyone playing games at the time was respectful enough to comply with it.
All seats with computers were spaced at least 6 feet apart. At the counter where customers grab a pen to sign the receipt, a half-split wooden chopstick is attached to every ballpoint pen. As the chopsticks are easily disposable and constantly replaced, People who do not wish to touch the pen could use it as a grip without being concerned about infection from touching the pen. This shows their consideration towards the customers.
The majority of us love the food in Koreatown so when it comes to restaurants, expect a heavy emphasis on outdoor dining with limited indoor capacities.
Just about 5-6 months ago, most of them were open for outdoor and patio dining only. Now it seems like most restaurants and cafes are open for in-door dinings too, with each table arranged at least 6 feet apart and all the employees wearing masks. It is obviously hard to wear a mask while dining in so for those who are afraid of catching the virus from close contact, don’t forget that most of the restaurants offer to-go options you can take home! If you still want to dine-in, avoid times when the restaurant is too crowded. Also, keep your masks on while you wait for the food or go to the restroom.
Ultimately, the businesses in Koreatown LA are very safe and practice some of the safest measures across all of Southern California. Exceptions exist, but every business in Koreatown that we’ve been to had strict guidelines related to COVID-19.