Coronavirus News: Restaurants feeling impact of COVID-19 fears in New Rochelle

NEW ROCHELLE, New York (WABC) -- The coronavirus is changing the way people live, especially within the restaurant industry as businesses are now mostly delivering their food.

When Josh Berkowitz opened Eden Wok Restaurant, a kosher Chinese restaurant in New Rochelle, he expected to do deliveries, but not quite like how it has been lately.

"We're trying our best to keep the customers happy and make them feel like they still exist," he said.

Berkowitz calls his deliveries the drop and run. He says it's the only way to make a living this week, with practically his entire clientele under mandatory quarantine.

"Everyone's scared," Berkowitz said. "I'm scared for them. I'm scared for myself."

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Wykagyl, the small neighborhood in New Rochelle, is centered around the Orthodox synagogue and has become the epicenter of New York's COVID-19 cluster.

A 50-year-old congregant was hospitalized for coronavirus. He infected his wife, two kids, the neighbor who drove him to the hospital, along with another friend who infected his wife and three kids.

That makes it ten cases in one tight community.

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"This could have happened anywhere," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference. "It happened in New Rochelle, but it could have happened anywhere."

At least one of those infected attended a Bat Mitzvah and/or a funeral at the synagogue the weekend of February 24, so health officials ordered anyone else who attended either event to self-quarantine for the rest of the 14-day incubation period.

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"It hits home," said Anthony Iolascon, of Maestro's Italian Restaurant. "You hear about it in the news. It's in Japan, it's in China and then now it's in New Rochelle. It's right around the corner."

In the small stretch of businesses on North Avenue, all those people are gone.

"Imagine a section of New York City, Soho. The mayor says guys, no going out," Berkowitz said. "Imagine that. This is a little small community."

The mandatory quarantine is over on March 8, and residents are crossing their fingers there will be no more infections, so life will finally get back to normal.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

New Yorkers can call the State hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus.

New York State information about coronavirus

John Hopkins' coronavirus tracking dashboard

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