Chinatown Restaurant Crawl Takes Place in Response to Coronavirus Fears

The event's organizer said he wanted to "show Chinatown some love"

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Dozens of people came out for a restaurant crawl Monday night in Chicago's Chinatown community to support businesses that have a seen a dramatic decline in customers due to coronavirus fears.

Carlos Matias, the organizer of the food crawl, said he decided to put on the event to "show Chinatown some love."

"We just want to give awareness the coronavirus does not exist here in Chinatown," he said.

Businesses and restaurants in the normally bustling tourist destination said they’ve been losing customers, but health officials said there’s nothing to worry about.

For some restaurants, business has declined by as much as 50%.

"I think Chicago is pretty well insulated, so we need to live like its normal," said Stephanie Tomino.

The family who owns the restaurant Moon Palace, which is located at 216 W. Cermark Rd., said they and so many others appreciate what's being done to help the community.

"I think a lot of people are wondering... can one day really change everything?" said Lilly Wang, whose family owns the restaurant. "It's about bringing attention. It's about showing support and being there for our community."

As coronavirus continues to spread, lawmakers question why the Trump administration has not asked for emergency funds to fight the deadly disease, and instead proposed cuts to the Centers for Disease Control budget. NBC's Tracie Potts reports.

If business doesn't improve in Chinatown, some owners worry that they'll have to start laying off employees.

"I want everybody [to] keep working and pay their taxes and pay [for] their children to go to school and college," said Sam Ma, owner of BBQ King House on South Archer Avenue.

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