Restaurants suffer as wary customers stay away

Restaurants suffer as wary customers stay away

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At Shabu House in Houston’s Chinatown, Asian comfort food is on the menu, including hot pots of steaming soup filled with the customer’s choice of meat and vegetables.

Since the coronavirus began to grab headlines, the restaurant has been at least half-empty. And Shabu House is not alone.   

“Pretty much all the restaurants in our entire shopping plaza (are down) anywhere from 50% to 75%, depending on the day,” says Debbie Chen, one of Shabu House’s owners. “It’s pretty challenging for all of us.”

The new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has sickened tens of thousands, mostly in China, and caused at least 1,775 deaths. Businesses struggle amid fears of the outbreak, including restaurants in Chinatown neighborhoods across the USA.

At Yin Ji Chang Fen, a restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown, business has dropped 30% to 40% since the first cases of coronavirus were reported near the start of the year. 

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