Fears Over Coronavirus Hurting Business In Flushing

Joe Avellar
February 05, 2020 - 12:53 pm
Flushing, Queens

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Fear of coronavirus is putting a damper on some traditional Lunar New Year festivities in Flushing, Queens and that's hurting business in the Chinese-American community.

The head of the Flushing Business Improvement District, Dian Yu, says families usually host dinners at local restaurants for the Lunar New Year, but many appear to be limiting their exposure to large gatherings in wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, which has killed nearly 500 people.

"Most of the restaurants are experiencing some cancellations," he said.

Councilman Peter Koo said the decrease in business may lead to layoffs in some restaurants.

Travel agencies are also feeling the impacts. 

Families usually travel to and from China, the epicenter of the viral outbreak, for the Lunar New Year, but  many have been canceling their flights and with the travel restrictions now in place, agencies have had to cut staff. 

"They have no choice, because right now, no one is traveling," Yu said. "No one is booking anything so they have to make some tough decisions."

Fortunately, Yu says, these are the only economic impacts of the coronavirus in the community and people are continuing with their normal lives.

Koo is warning people not to overreact and he repeats the advice of health officials to wash your hands and cover nose and mouth when you sneeze. 

"Most people won't get the virus," Koo said. "So I urge people to just go on their normal routines."