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It began with suspicious looks on the street. Then visits by shoppers and diners dwindled. Now, a year since the coronavirus spread globally, many small business owners in Chinatowns around the world are shutting up shop.

On the eve of Lunar New Year — traditionally her busiest trading season, Joanne Kwong was planning to close down Pearl River Mart’s flagship store in New York’s Chinatown half a century since it was established by her Taiwanese in-laws.

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