Coronavirus: B.C. Asian grocers continue to fight false rumours amid COVID-19 outbreak

Click to play video: 'B.C. businesses adapt and struggle during COVID-19 outbreak' B.C. businesses adapt and struggle during COVID-19 outbreak
As the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies in B.C., businesses are being forced to adapt their services in a changing and challenging environment, and for some that includes fighting off false rumours. Kristen Robinson reports – Mar 7, 2020

A long-established Asian grocery store in B.C. says there is absolutely no truth to what it claims are false and damaging rumours circulating on social media regarding COVID-19 and its supermarket.

North Surrey’s Hen Long Market posted a message to Facebook Friday, reassuring the public that it is open for business and that “there have been NO cases of this illness from any of the staff.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus fears dash opening day plans at new MEC Vancouver flagship store

“There was a rumour out that one of our staff had coronavirus,” manager Minh Ngo told Global News. “It’s completely false. There’s no basis for it whatsoever.”


Story continues below advertisement

The family-owned and operated business has been in the community for more than 36 years, and says it would never jeopardize the health and safety of its family, friends, coworkers, and especially, its customers.

“We take this issue very seriously, so rest assured that we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of all who visit us regularly for their daily needs,” read the Facebook post.

Ngo says his staff of almost 100 has been unfairly targeted by the misleading and dishonest information while working hard to serve customers, many of whom are stockpiling goods during an uncertain and challenging time.

Click to play video: 'Dispelling the myths and confusion of COVID-19' Dispelling the myths and confusion of COVID-19
Dispelling the myths and confusion of COVID-19 – Mar 8, 2020

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Chinese-Canadian businesses report up to 70% business drop amid virus fears

“The last few days have been very stressful. Everybody’s stocking up, everybody’s panic buying, so were extra busy,” Ngo said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We want to be able to service these people and not have staff deal with lies that are spread on the internet.”

Since going public about the false information circulating online, Ngo says some of the damaging social media posts have been taken down. Other users have messaged him privately to apologize for spreading fake rumours.

Click to play video: 'Federal health minister travels to Vancouver to talk COVID-19 coronavirus' Federal health minister travels to Vancouver to talk COVID-19 coronavirus
Federal health minister travels to Vancouver to talk COVID-19 coronavirus – Feb 18, 2020

Still, Ngo says it’s hard to erase everything on the internet.

“That type of information is completely wrong,” he said. “It’s an attack on the employees that work here.”

Hen Long Market also knows it’s not alone in an age where false information often appears to be spreading faster than COVID-19.

“Many other businesses throughout the Lower Mainland are suffering from similar falsified statements,” said Ngo.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: B.C. health officials try to dispel COVID-19 misinformation among Chinese-Canadian community

Back in January, T&T Supermarkets had to push back against claims that the coronavirus had been detected within its stores, calling them “false and disappointing.”

Ngo says unsubstantiated rumours don’t help when the public is already in a state of heightened alert due to novel coronavirus. He’s urging people to ignore the false claims and double check their facts before posting or commenting on social media.

“It’s very hurtful,” he said. “I hope these people who do that understand what they’re doing, and it’s completely wrong.”

—With files from Sean Boynton

Sponsored content