Coronavirus fears trigger up to 50% drop in business in Edmonton’s Chinatown

Click to play video: 'Edmonton’s Chinatown experiences drop in business amid coronavirus fears' Edmonton’s Chinatown experiences drop in business amid coronavirus fears
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton's Chinatown is seeing a drop in business and it's being attributed in part to the coronavirus. Julia Wong reports. – Feb 28, 2020

Restaurants in Edmonton’s Chinatown are seeing a drop in business that is being attributed, in part, to the coronavirus.

Wen Wang, executive director of the Chinatown and Area Business Association, said some businesses have reported a 30 to 50 per cent decline compared to the same time last year.

Wang said the association believes the economy and the coronavirus are factors in the drop.

READ MORE: ‘Support them or lose them’: Chinatowns across Canada grapple with coronavirus fears

Tom Ly, owner and manager at Dynasty Century Palace Restaurant, said his restaurant has seen an approximately 40 per cent decline in business compared to February 2019.

Ly said business had been suffering because of the tough economic situation in the province but the coronavirus did not make things any better.

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“It’s such a big restaurant. The news [is] saying stay away from big areas or lots of people. There’s where we get hit the most,” he said.

Ly said it has crossed his mind to shut the restaurant down.

“I really definitely don’t want to get to that point. We’re just hanging on as best as we can,” he said.

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“We hope we don’t get to that stage. Right now, we’re just on survival mode at the moment.”

As for Wang, he wants to send a message to Edmontonians.

“Chinatown is still a safe place to visit [and] to shop. We welcome any [and] all people to come over and visit Chinatown.”

Earlier this week, many Calgary city councillors had lunch at a restaurant in that city’s Chinatown to help reduce fears about the coronavirus.

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RELATED: Calgary’s Chinatown reports business drop of up to 80 per cent over COVID-19 fears

“Business in Chinatown is way down — in some restaurants 70 to 80 per cent,” Coun. Druh Farrell said.

“It’s a dreadful burden on the businesses, so we wanted to show our support and encourage Calgarians to stand behind their local businesses, especially in Chinatown.”

There are more than 83,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide.

There have been no cases of the coronavirus in Alberta. Health officials have tested 173 people in the province for the infection.

READ MORE: Alberta officials expand list of countries for coronavirus testing protocols

On Wednesday, the province’s top medical officer expanded the number of countries that would fall under testing protocols to include Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Italy.

So far, 14 cases have been confirmed in Canada, split between B.C. and Ontario. A 15th presumptive case has been discovered in Quebec.

In the United States, there’s a campaign in New York to “Show Some Love for Chinatown.” Food crawls have been arranged to help Chicago’s Chinatown and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown District on Monday to try to quell fears.

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Chinatown businesses in Vancouver and Toronto have all reported a decline in customers.

Watch below: Some videos about how the coronavirus has impacted Edmontonians.

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