CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Fears over the coronavirus are hurting restaurants and retail establishments in Chinatown, and on Wednesday, lawmakers and the Chinatown Partnership launched a new initiative to support struggling business owners.
The "Show Some Love in Chinatown" campaign encourages New Yorkers to purchase a meal or object in Chinatown to qualify for a Valentine's Day themed raffle and to take pictures at a photo backdrop in front of the iconic Chinatown Kiosk on the Baxter Street Triangle.
City Council members Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera were on hand to kick off the campaign, which is dedicated to supporting Chinatown small businesses, many of whom have been experiencing a decline in customers due to anxieties around the coronavirus.
Helen Ng, the owner of Amazing 66 restaurant on Mott Street, says business has dropped by about 50%.
"People are very concerned. We understand their feelings, but it's hurting us, too. Business is not here," Ng says.
While there have been zero confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City and all pending tests have come back negative, Asian New Yorkers and businesses have experienced an alarming rise of xenophobia and discrimination.
Ng says in 14 years, she has never seen it this bad. Even during Superstorm Sandy, as soon as the power went back on, customers flooded her door again.
Chin and Rivera stood with the Chinatown Partnership to disavow bigotry, meet small business owners, and encourage New Yorkers to show their solidarity by patronizing Chinatown restaurants.
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Campaign urges New Yorkers to patronize Chinatown businesses amid coronavirus fears