Boston officials are encouraging people to visit Chinatown after restaurants there reported a decline in business amid fears over the coronavirus.
As part of the efforts, City Councilors Michelle Wu and Ed Flynn were set to hold a dim sum brunch at the China Pearl restaurant starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“I’ve heard from business owner after business owner that they are really going through hard times right now,” Wu told the Boston Herald. “Restaurants are empty. People aren’t coming to Chinatown.”
“We’re coming together on Saturday in a show of support and respect to the community of Chinatown,” Flynn told the paper.
The Boston Public Health Commission shared a Chinatown-themed Bingo game on social media using the hashtag #LoveBostonChinatown.
“Chinatown is one of the many vibrant neighborhoods in Boston, and I encourage all our residents and visitors to support the small businesses that make us a diverse and world-class city,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a tweet.
The Massachusetts Restaurant Association said in a statement released last week that patrons are making "inaccurate correlations" between eating at the state's Chinese establishments and the spread of the new coronavirus, which the World Health Organization on Tuesday officially dubbed COVID-19.
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Massachusetts has had one confirmed case of the virus, a University of Massachusetts Boston student who recently returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.