Asian restaurants across the Bay Area are reporting significant drop-offs in business as novel coronavirus fears seem to be keeping customers away.
Merchants at the Pacific Rim Plaza in San Jose say their business is down 30 to 50% amid the viral outbreak, which originated in China and has since spread to countries across the globe.
"The business right now is getting slow," restaurant owner Amy Yao said. "Before it's very busy."
Hoping to help, Assemblyman Kansen Chu on Friday brought out Martin Yan of the TV show "Yan Can Cook" to demystify any fears.
"I don't think discrimination or targeting a certain group of restaurants helps," Yan said.
While some customers might be discriminating based on unfounded fears, Yan pointed out that the coronavirus doesn't.
"This virus, they don't understand the border," he said. "They go anywhere. They don't just go to Chinese restaurants. They can go anywhere."
The Oriental Food Association said restaurants are facing a double whammy. Customers are staying away and restaurants can't get some foods and supplies in from China because some factories are still closed.