Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says Oakland's Chinatown hurting amid coronavirus concerns

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf was in Chinatown Saturday in an effort to restore public confidence in local Chinese businesses. She said false rumors and coronavirus fears are hurting the community. 

“Now more than ever we all must support the Chinese community right here at home,” said Schaaf. 

Merchants and restaurant owners have seen a steep decline in business. 

”At this time there is no confirmed coronavirus case in Oakland or in Alameda County,” said Schaaf. “And even with that fact we are seeing businesses affected. And so we want to assure people the proper precautions have been taken.”

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False rumors have been spreading on the messaging app “WeChat.” Carl Chan with the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce said people send messages to each other, claiming people contracted the virus at different businesses. “But you know, it’s not true,” he said. “We just want to dispel many rumors.”

Karen Fong, the owner for Shooting Star Café on Webster Street is worried about her company. The line is typically out the door, but Saturday there was no line and several empty tables. Fong has already had to let two employees go. 

”My restaurant is pretty busy all the time. Lunch hour, waiting for 15 minutes to half an hour. Now it’s almost empty,” said Fong.