Chinatown businesses suffer in Chicago amid coronavirus fears

The number of cases of coronavirus is exploding. There are now 79,000 cases globally.

Italy, Iran and South Korea are frantically working to contain the virus, and the fears of it spreading are hitting the markets hard.

Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1,000 points. It was the worst drop for the index in two years and it wiped out all the gains made so far in 2020.

The impact is also being felt in Chicago’s Chinatown.

An event shared on Facebook brought out about 100 people Monday night for a Chinatown food crawl. 

The crowd met at the Chinatown Square for a 7 p.m. restaurant crawl. The goal was to calm the fears that the coronavirus is in Chicago’s Chinatown. 

“Seeing how empty it is versus when it’s really packed is really shocking to me,” said Ally Le.

Two men who aren’t from China or even live in the area organized the event. They just like the culture and want it to thrive. 

“I think I just really love Chinatown, I’ve been coming here for years,” said Jose Corcoles, co-organizer. 

"We are sitting in the restaurant of one of my good friends. I’ve been coming here for about 10 years and as you can see, it’s pretty slow,” said Carlos Matias, co-organizer.

The event was all about encouraging patrons to walk the neighborhood and spend some cash. 

"I grew up working in Chinese restaurants, the family of immigrants, so it breaks my heart to see to hear about business not doing well,” said Mark Bi. 

Businesses in Chinatown are hurting thanks to the erroneous coronavirus fears and a double homicide earlier this month. 

“I want people to know it’s safe here, said Emma Yu, Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. “I myself, we are safe and healthy here.”

Yu says some businesses have seen a dramatic decrease in sales, some down 50-80 percent over the past month. 

To help, they are hosting a spring sale