Coronavirus fears are hurting Bay Area Chinatowns

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The streets of Oakland’s Chinatown are missing that hustle and bustle which should come with the Lunar New Year.

People haven’t been in the streets and fears of the coronavirus are to blame, according to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

“The decline is between 50 and 70-percent which is totally shocking,” Carl Chan said.

President Carl Chan said visitors and locals are staying away.

At dinner time, restaurant tables are empty and there are very few take out orders.

Managers, who did not want to go on camera, said this slow down could cause them to lay off workers or shutdown.

In Pacific Renaissance Plaza — a place usually filled with people .. is eerily quiet.

At the Sweet Booth, cornoanvirus fears are putting a chill on Calvin Tong’s business.

He said revenue is down 50-percent.

“No problem, it is safe here,” Tong said. “No coronavirus. Safe, everyone is safe here.”

The Chamber of Commerce is working with community leaders to dispel rumors about the virus, and doing outreach to encourage people to enjoy Chinatown.

“When people are scared and thinking they are all sick people we need to change that,” Chan said.

Next week, the Chamber of Commerce plans to hold a workshop to help businesses here learn more about the virus, and how to bounce back from this slowdown.

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