Because of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States (There are over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19), business owners are anxious during the quarantines. There are negative consequences to people being out of work or cloistered in their homes as restaurants, retail stores, churches, and schools close. This absence of commerce has affected small and large businesses alike. Those businesses that have traded with companies overseas, especially China, such as Chinese restaurants and stores, have suffered a loss of supply and patronage. Companies whose products are made in China, such as Nike, Adidas, and Jordan, have drastically dropped in sales as Chinese factories have recently stopped the production of many goods.
Resulting Fears and Negative Feelings Have Hurt Commerce
As a result of this shutdown of production, buyers must look elsewhere for the products that they need. Also, travel restrictions have prevented brand representatives from visiting the factories. Those workers who engaged in any travel during the Lunar New Year are unable to return to their jobs. Added to these losses, negative feelings toward those of Asian descent have increased. As a result, Chinatowns across the U.S. are suffering financially. In New York, for instance, one Chinese restaurant, Bo Ky, managed by Chivy Ngo, has suffered a loss of almost 60% of its revenue. The executive director of a nonprofit organization that works to promote and preserve Chinatown, Wellington Chen, recently observed that the coronavirus outbreak had had a more negative effect than any economic harm caused by the SARS virus that began in 2002 and ended in mid-2004. Because of this coronavirus outbreak, there are shops in Chinatown of New York that have lost nearly 40% of revenue and others that have suffered losses of up to 70%.
One New York property manager reported that there are now business owners in Chinatown who are unable to pay the monthly rent on their properties. To assist these businesses in the Chinatowns of cities such as New York and California, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Grace Meng of New York, along with Judy Chu of California, have introduced a bill to assist small business owners who have suffered economic losses because of the Coronavirus. Named the “Small Business Relief from Communicable Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act,” the bill, if passed, can allow owners to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans of amounts up to $2 million to cover business expenses.