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

Chinese Canadians are bearing the brunt of misinformation and rumour about COVID-19, warns Canada’s health minister.

Patty Hajdu met with her B.C. counterpart Adrian Dix, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and stakeholders in the Vancouver Chinese Canadian community Monday to find ways to combat the issue.

Alex Wang, who runs the Peninsula Seafood Restaurant in Oakridge said he’s seen business drop more than 70 per cent.

“For my cash flow, I don’t think I can survive longer than three months,” he said.

Wang said he’s trying to avoid laying off staff, some who’ve been with the business for six years, but has been forced to cut shifts.

“The biggest loss is the salary and our inventory that we prepare for the Chinese New Year.”

Mayor Stewart said Wang’s concerns are widespread in the community, where unfounded fears around COVID-19 have some entrepreneurs worried they’ll be put out of business.

“We’ve heard some restaurants that are losing 50, 60, 70 per cent of business which is very, very concerning to us, because most of it is based on misinformation,” said Stewart.

“We’re encouraging people to go on with their regular business, enjoy all the great food and other services that are offered here in Chinatown and other Chinese communities because at this stage we’re considering everything safe and we don’t want these businesses hurt.”

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow, there has been rising concern about racism and misinformation which is rapidly being spread online.

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