Asian-American Businesses On Long Island Struggle Amid Coronavirus Fears

Mack Rosenberg
February 22, 2020 - 6:42 pm
New Fu Run Chinese restaurant

Mack Rosenberg/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Asian-American civic leaders and business owners on Long Island said businesses there are seeing a major decline in foot traffic because of fears over the coronavirus.

Businesses across Long Island and in the greater New York region have reported a 40 to 70 percent drop in business because of the virus.

The decline in business hits even harder because of the time of year, Tina Zhang, the owner of New Fu Run Chinese restaurant in Great Neck, said. She said even discounts haven’t gotten people through the door.

“We usually, during the Chinese New Year, are very busy. We have a lot of big party reservations,” she said.

On Saturday, Zhang welcomed local leaders for lunch and a chance to tell people there’s nothing to fear.

“Don’t be afraid, you know, you have a lot of support,” she said. “There’s no coronavirus cases.”

Rachel Sha, a real estate agent in the area, said there is a hesitancy among homeowners when she brings people of Asian descent.

“I’ve gotten a lot of pushback when I try to show a home to people if I bring people of Chinese descent,” Sha said. “Often times, people ask me, ‘Are they from China?’ Or, if they look or are Asian, they say, ‘I don’t want to show my home to this person,’ because they are very nervous.”

Sha said she understands the need to be cautious, but with no confirmed cases in the Tri-State area, she said there’s no need to panic.

At least 34 people in the U.S. have coronavirus, but none of those cases are in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

More than 76,000 people have contracted the virus in China, with at least 2,240 deaths reported there.