The New York City Mayor’s Office is urging residents not to avoid eating at local Chinese restaurants due to fear of contracting the deadly coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and has so far infected more than 64,000 people worldwide.
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There are hundreds of “Chinese restaurants that need your business!” the office tweeted Thursday. “There is nothing to fear. Stop by any Chinatown for lunch or dinner.”
Per recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the number of global coronavirus cases has ticked into the thousands, there are just 15 confirmed instances in the United States and no confirmed cases in New York.
Still, many businesses in the city, home to nine separate Chinatown districts, have been feeling trickle-down effects from the virus, which could cause severe respiratory issues.
“There’s a lot of cancellations. We know foot traffic is down,” Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, said in a Wednesday press conference. “Across the board, from grocery to banquet hall … there’s no one who says, ‘I haven’t suffered.’”
Chi Vy Ngo, owner of Bo Ky Restaurant, said in a Gothamist report that his business has decreased up to 70 percent, adding that the survival of his brand depends on public perception.
“Come out show more support,” he said, “and this thing will go away very soon.”
Many other brands are staying optimistic, too.
Cheong Tak Chio, head of the Hubei Association, thinks things are heading in the right direction: “The community is rebounding,” he said in the report. “Now that everyone’s learning more about the outbreak and realizing that it’s not so bad, now you begin to see crowds return. I think give it another week, and Flushing could be 80 [to] 90 percent back.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio himself was spotted in a Chinese restaurant in Queens, New York, Thursday, eating a dish seemingly in an effort to ease tensions about the outbreak.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.
Health officials both in China and around the world have been scrambling to find a way to combat the coronavirus. To date, the outbreak has killed nearly 1,400 people.