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Coronavirus Fears Taking Toll On Businesses In Philadelphia's Chinatown, Owners Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some say fears of the coronavirus are taking a toll on businesses in Philadelphia's Chinatown, a place typically bustling with crowded restaurants.

There is a little less hustle and a tad less bustle in Chinatown on Friday evening.

"I found parking right away and that normally never happens when I do come," one woman said.

Some business owners say they're seeing fewer customers walk through their doors.

"I can tell that Chinatown is a little quieter because it's Chinese New Year just last week," said Pho 20 co-owner Ken Poon.

The lower-than-normal activity may be linked to worries about coronavirus, Poon believes.

"Now a lot of people are scared and they don't want to go to Chinatown a little bit," he said.

Those concerns are simply not necessary, says John Chin, the executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.

"It's a natural fear but I think it's unfortunate that folks are looking at what's happening in China and then looking at Chinatown Philadelphia, and making this connection that really should not be there," Chin said.

He says it's business as usual in the neighborhood.

Eyewitness News cameras caught plenty of people shopping, strolling and enjoying a mild Friday. There were a handful of people wearing masks.

"I don't feel like there is a great scare here in Philadelphia," Chin said.

So folks like Jah Tarver say they'll continue patronizing the businesses in the diverse neighborhood.

"I was just here last night with my family and we had dinner at a local restaurant and it was pretty packed," Tarver said. "I'm not concerned."

Most folks say they're not too concerned about the coronavirus. Experts say you should be more concerned about the flu.

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