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Chinatown looks to dispel coronavirus fears ahead of Lunar New Year parade

Posted at 10:57 PM, Feb 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 22:57:46-05

CHINATOWN, Manhattan — On the eve of the Lunar New Year parade, Chinatown is looking a bit like a ghost town.

“Less people on the street and in the restaurant,” Helen Ng, the owner of Amazing 66 restaurant, told PIX11 News.

The Amazing 66 Restaurant on Mott Street was amazingly empty on the 15th night of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Business is off in Chinatown by 40 to 50 percent because of fears about the spread of the coronavirus, even though there are no confirmed cases in New York City.

“We are showing them we’re fine, we’re here and we made it through,” Patty Ng, a longtime Chinatown resident, told PIX11 News.

They were mostly only locals in Chinatown who came out for the lion dance. The parade grand marshal, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, whose district includes part of Chinatown, the commissioner of small businesses and the Chinatown Partnership BID director dined out together at Shanghai Deluxe to send a clear message.

“My message is to come in to Chinatown, enjoy the culture, diversity and food and have a great time,” she said.

“All our communities are safe go out shop dine and be supportive to small businesses that are so important for our neighborhood,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Wellington Chen, Chinatown Partnership BID director added, with a smile, “the only fear you should have is whether there is room for dessert.”

Fears of the spread of Coronavirus also delayed the departure of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

The Anthem of the Seas was supposed to leave Friday, then Saturday but has been delayed for two more days until Monday, even though CDC test results on four passengers who had recently been in China and were hospitalized with flulike symptoms came back negative for coronavirus, according to a tweet from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

But a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman confirmed that a crew member did die on the last cruise, but not of the coronavirus.

“Our hearts go out to the family of our crewmember at this difficult time, and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement in their investigation,” spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau of Royal Caribbean Cruises told PIX11 News.