Coronavirus News: Long Island Chinese-American businesses in financial distress over coronavirus concerns

GREAT NECK, Long Island (WABC) -- Some Chinese-American businesses on Long Island are seeing sharp declines in their sales and customer bases since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Tina Zhang, the owner of New Fu Run Restaurant in Great Neck, told Eyewitness News she is dealing with a 30 to 40 percent drop in business since mid-January.

"People are actually fear to come out, eat, because they're afraid people may come back from China," Zhang said.

Zhang knew she was headed for tough times on January 25 -- Chinese New Year -- when eight big parties canceled their reservations at her restaurant.

RELATED INFORMATION:
New York City information about coronavirus

Zhang also owns a restaurant in Flushing, and she said business there is suffering even more than her Great Neck location.

"My old customer I call them up and ask them and they saying they're afraid to come out to eat," she said. "They rather stay home, be safe."

The owner of 47 Beauty Studio in Great Neck, Krystal Zhong, said she is also struggling to get customers.

"They scared," she said. "That's why they don't want to come."

Zhong said her business is down approximately 40 percent since mid-January and even her regular weekly customers have disappeared.

RELATED INFORMATION:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

"We are safe here, so people can come in," Zhong said. "Nothing to be worried."

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said people should not be hesitant to go to stores and restaurants owned by Chinese-Americans or where Chinese-Americans may frequent.

"I think there is a lot of anxiety and angst that everyone's experiencing, and I think it's important to temper that," he said. "People should still go out to restaurants."

Zucker points to the fact that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State.

RELATED INFORMATION:
New York State information about coronavirus

Senator Anna Kaplan (D-Carle Place) has been working to encourage people to patronize local Chinese-American businesses.

"These businesses are part of the fabric of our downtowns, and if they're forced to layoff staff or close their doors, it would be a huge loss for everyone," she said. "I'm urging Long Islanders to step up and show their support for these local businesses during their time of need."

Last weekend, Kaplan hosted a luncheon at Zhang's restaurant with local supervisors and the Chinese Consul General to show that it is safe to eat at Chinese restaurants. The group visited several Chinese-American businesses in the area.

Kaplan said she also has heard from a local realtor who is having difficulty showing properties to prospective buyers because homeowners do not want anyone who has been to China in their homes. Similarly, homeowners of Chinese ethnicity do not want anyone in their homes who have recently been back to the homeland.
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