Chinatown Wants Your Business: Shops Offer Discounts As Sales Drop Amid Coronavirus Fear

Brandon Ison
February 22, 2020 - 1:51 pm
Chinatown

(Brandon Ison/WBBM)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce is encouraging visitors and residents to support the local businesses in the area after reporting a 20 to 50 % drop in sales due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In an attempt to bring more traffic to Chinatown, the chamber is offering customers 10 % off. The offer, which is posted to social media and the chamber’s website, is valid at 25 businesses and expires March 31. Select businesses are offering 15 and 20 % discounts.

Emma Yu, executive director for the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said no one in the area has been infected with the coronavirus.

“We are safe here, no people here are affected,” Yu said.

She pointed out the two coronavirus cases in the Chicago area were in suburban Hoffman Estates, nowhere near Chinatown. They have since been cured, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported Feb. 15.

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But what has affected the Chinatown neighborhood is misguided public perception, she said. The chamber wants to remind patrons that the businesses need support and should not be subject to assumed fear from the virus.

Yu said the neighborhood hasn’t experienced such a dramatic drop in business like this since the SARS scare 17 years ago.

The local health departments also announced last week that Chinatown is safe and encouraged people to shop there.

Chinatown
In an attempt to bring more traffic to Chinatown, the chamber is offering customers 10 % off. The offer, which is posted to social media and the chamber’s website, is valid at 25 businesses and expires March 31. Select businesses are offering 15 and 20 % discounts. (Brandon Ison/WBBM)

The owner of a Chinatown gift shop said the virus is not as contagious as people might think but assumed that people are scared. She said business is starting to pick up again after a slow month.

One visitor from Australia said he has no problem shopping in Chinatown, adding that he is not buying in to the hype over the coronavirus. He said he took international flights to come to Chicago and traveling was fine.

“I just bought some groceries; some bok choy and dried mushrooms,” he said.

Anyone who shows the flyer upon checkout can take advantage of the discounts.