Chinatown neighborhoods impacted by COVID-19

“We’ve been down as low as more than 90 percent.” Misinformation about coronavirus has hit business in Chinatown districts across the U.S.

Rumors, fake news, and misinformation

Rumors, fake news, and misinformation about the coronavirus is impacting business in Chinatown districts across the U.S.

In Houston…

Following the spread of rumors incorrectly claiming that Houston’s Chinatown was unsafe, business dwindled. Debbie Chen, co-owner of restaurant Shabu House, spoke to KHOU-11, “We’ve been down as low as more than 90 percent. On average it’s maybe 50 to 70 percent down on any given day.” Mai Pham, a Houston-based food journalist, launched a local #SupportChinatown campaign. Videoing herself at once popular Asian restaurants, she explains, “Today I’m at One Dragon Restaurant in Houston’s Chinatown. It’s a little bit after lunch hour and as you can see it’s empty and there’s really no reason for it to be this way.” Other businesses are also supporting their Chinatown neighbors.

In Chicago…

Carlos Matias organized a food crawl in Chicago’s Chinatown on Feb. 24 to support businesses impacted by coronavirus fears. He spoke about it with ABC 7, “No confirmed cases down here. Everyone's healthy. The food is still delicious, and we should be supporting these small businesses.”

In San Francisco…

On Feb. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a walking tour of the city's Chinatown. She shared, “You should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city. We know that there is a concern about tourism, traveling all throughout the world, but we think it's very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.”

In New York…

Revenue has dipped by around 40% in Chinatown. Vincent Tang, manager at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, explained to Brut, “It didn't take me by surprise that business would drop, but it took me by surprise by how much. The neighborhood has just been an obvious drop in foot traffic, definitely less tourists and just people in general because they're afraid to come out. Some people are taking it more seriously than others.”

In Los Angeles…

Asian Americans are worried about the rise in anti-Asian racism since the outbreak. Qhim Ving, a government worker, revealed, “I mean, we do worry, I do worry because of course the cases that we’ve heard, and we are afraid that they look at us, because we are Asian, we might be part of the coronavirus.”