China Town Restaurants Deserted Following Coronavirus Outbreak
Over the last few weeks, coronavirus has become a global epidemic, affecting thousands of people in China and beyond, and killing more than 1,000 people so far.
Having originated in Wuhan, people have been advised to leave the area in central China and seek treatment as soon as possible. However, it is not just those in China who have been affected by the flu-like virus, as restaurants in London’s Chinatown have reported a huge drop in business since the outbreak.
According to iNews.co.uk, shop owners and restaurateurs in Chinatown have recorded a 50 per cent drop in trade, with their premises empty as patrons avoid eating or buying food that is associated with China.
A spokesperson for Sichuanese chain Baozilnn said: “It’s down to a fear of the unknown. In some ways it’s understandable – people from all parts of society are staying are. Chinatown has been deserted.”
Carol Phon from Taiwanese fried chicken restaurant Monga said this is normally a busy time for them as it is not long after Chinese New Year.
However, sales have dropped significantly despite there having only been eight recorded cases of coronavirus in the UK.
“I do understand some of the worries, but it’s not here. We’re in London, so it’s the same everywhere,” Ms Phon stated.
This problem highlights the importance of taking food hygiene training courses, in order to prove all the appropriate safety precautions are being undertaken to prevent the spread of any disease, including coronavirus.
However, while more facemasks and hand sanitizer gels are likely to be used in Chinatown at the moment, iNews.co.uk notes that people might still be steering away from the Chinese restaurants for another reason.
British-Asian writer Angela Hui wrote an article in Galdem that said: “Racism spreads faster than most epidemics.”
She implies customers are avoiding these restaurants, as they believe they might contract the virus simply from being around Chinese people.
Ms Hui noted: “These viruses are racialised. The other day, a man sat down next to me on the Tube – white guy in late 20s, early 30s. He then got up and muttered under his breath to say, ‘Oh, I’m not sitting next to the coronavirus’. I got off and was really livid.”
It is not just London’s China Town that has been affected by the negative impact of coronavirus, as the New York Times reported that New York City’s three main Chinatowns have recorded business drops of between 50 and 70 per cent over the past fortnight.
Similarly, Boston’s Chinatown has been affected, as well as Chinese restaurants in Houston, Texas, and San Francisco.
This is likely to be down to the restrictions in place preventing tourists from China from visiting the US and, therefore, fewer people are visiting their favourite hotspots.
Chinese Merchants Association spokesperson Edward Siu also notes that those who are in the USA are afraid of visiting Chinese establishments, despite only 12 confirmed cases in the whole of the States and none in San Francisco.
“We are safe and we are healthy,” he stated, adding: “Don’t worry about whatever the rumours say. Chinatown is safe.”