San Francisco officials on Thursday encouraged people thinking about attending Saturday's Chinese New Year Parade to put their fears of the new coronavirus aside and come out for the festivities.
"I urge all people that have come year after year to continue coming to this parade on Saturday and have the fun that they always have," Norman Yee, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said.
Some business owners in the area said they wish the message was sent out sooner because they're already seeing the effects of unfounded coronavirus fears.
"It's been very quiet," shopkeeper Diane Malick said. "We're hoping that on Saturday when the parade takes place it will be packed."
Other business owners said they're worried. Business is down, and they're afraid tourists may be staying away from the area.
During a news conference Thursday, city officials assured the public that it's safe to attend the parade, saying people are more at risk of catching the flu.
"We know that right now there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Francisco," San Francisco health officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said. "We're not making any additional recommendations except to tell people to wash their hands, the kinds of things that they would be doing this time of year."