BOSTON (CBS) — While there has only been one confirmed case of coronavirus in Massachusetts, fears of the virus have hurt restaurants in Chinatown. On Tuesday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spent the afternoon in the neighborhood and sat down for lunch at Jade Garden to help ease the public’s fears.
“It’s safe to come to Chinatown,” Walsh said. “We want to make sure we continue to support our businesses here in Chinatown. This is their bread and butter and if they are losing business, they will have to shut doors.”
Jade Garden manager Jack Cao said it has been a tough few weeks. “It’s harder. We’ve tried to do whatever we can to fight it…Like the mayor said, this affects not just the businesses, this affects the employees and the family. It’s like a chain reaction.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak, many local restaurants in Chinatown say they’ve seen their business decrease by more than 50 percent. They compare it to a major snowstorm when everything gets shut down, only this just seems to linger on.
“It’s terrifying. I grew up in Chinatown my entire life and I’ve rarely seen this beautiful community suffer like this. It’s truly a tragedy,” said Billy Chan of Kirin Produce. “Hopefully, it’s similar to the SARS outbreak in the past, it will be solved, more or less in a short time, hopefully.”
Chan’s family runs a produce business on a street that is typically flooded with tourists. On Tuesday, it’s quiet.
“We’ve taken a huge toll, like everyone else in Chinatown,” he said.
Madeline Oritz works nearby at Tufts Medical Center and was proud to show her support by buying lunch in Chinatown.
“Makes me feel good,” she said. “I like Chinese culture and Asian culture, so to know people are getting a benefit out of it is really good for me.”