Chinese restaurants experience customer decline, blame Coronavirus fear

Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 11:46 PM CDT
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While the number of Wisconsin Coronavirus cases grow, local Chinese restaurants are feeling the pinch.

The owners NBC15 talked to say restaurants have been empty lately, and the fear of being affected is to blame.

NBC15 crews went to over a dozen Asian restaurants in Madison, and the majority told us they've seen a big change in business and they are doing their best to keep the doors open.

Since she was 8 years old, Jenny Yin was her happiest in the kitchen.

“Normally every family making those together,” Yin said.

Making dumplings was a family tradition in the Yin household, and she wanted to share it with the community so she opened Dumpling Haus in Hilldale.

“I like it here.The food I’m making here is a tradition, home cooking,” she said.

But she said one thing is missing: the customers.

“Has been like this for a couple weeks and the weekdays are slow,” Yin says. "I don't want to be like this. If we're like this too long the business will be hurt."

Yin said as Coronavirus reports grow, her business gets slower. She believes it comes down to fear.

“People shouldn't be afraid of coming to Chinese restaurants, because we're local. We've been here a long time,” Yin says. “The food is clean. We do it locally and make our food fresh every day."

Dumpling Haus is one of many Chinese restaurants in Madison seeing the steep decline.

Many restaurant workers at Nani Restaurant said they normally open two dinner sections, but now only one is barely filled with customers.

"The least we can do is try and take away one of the things they had to worry about during this time,” said Daniela Chandler, who dined in Nani Restaurant.

Chandler and her family saw on social media people were choosing to opt-out of dining at Chinese restaurants in fear of catching the virus.

The family said they're confident in the word from health officials, that the public risk of the Coronvirus remains low and believe local businesses shouldn't suffer.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association said you cannot get the Coronavirus by eating at an Asian restaurant. It's a myth.

The association adds it's important to support local businesses during this time and not punish them.