Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi toured San Francisco's Chinatown Monday to send a message. She said there's no reason tourists or locals should be staying away from the area because of coronavirus concerns.
"That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here," Pelosi said. "Come because precautions have been taken. The city is on top of the situation."
Pelosi visited The Wok Shop, a temple and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which was started 58 years ago by owner Kevin Chan's mother and uncle.
Chan said his business is losing about $500-$800 a day, or about 70% on average. He believes the fear of the virus is racially motivated.
"I think it's because even if I walk out and cough a little bit — my throat is itchy — they look at me, 'Oh,' like this, 'scary,'" he said.
As Pelosi walked from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to lunch at a dim sum restaurant, she hugged friends and waved to onlookers. She downplayed the racism issue, saying she understands people are concerned about China – the epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
"But that shouldn’t be carried over to Chinatown in San Francisco," she said. "I hope that it’s not that. But all I can say is, 'I’m here.' We feel safe and sound, so many of us coming here."
Pelosi did say she was concerned that President Donald Trump's budget cuts 19% of funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In India Monday, Trump said the virus is under control in the United States.