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De Blasio, Johnson Visit Flushing to Support Businesses Hurt by Coronavirus Fears

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and other leaders went to Flushing on Thursday to urge New Yorkers to shop at Asian American-owned small businesses, many of which have been hurt by fears around the coronavirus outbreak. (Flickr Photo / New York City Council)

Feb. 13, 2020 By Ryan Brady

There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City. Still, that doesn’t mean the disease hasn’t taken an economic toll here.

The Flushing Chinese Business Association estimates business in the neighborhood has decreased by 40 percent because of fears about the outbreak, which originated in China. Now, the group and others are aiming to quell the worry and get more consumers to spend in Flushing. The same effect has been observed in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park.

Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined FCBA President Peter Tu and other business leaders in Flushing on Thursday to urge New Yorkers to shop at Asian American-owned small businesses.

“In hard times, New Yorkers know to stand by their neighbors,” de Blasio said. “We’re in Flushing today to embrace Asian-American owned small businesses and say to all New Yorkers: New York City’s Chinatowns are open for business!”

The mayor met with business owners at the event, which was held at the Royal Queen restaurant in the New World Mall.

“The risk of infection to New Yorkers is low,” Johnson said in a statement. “There is no need to avoid public spaces. I urge everyone to dine and shop as usual.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus nationwide. The most recent patient to test positive is in Texas.

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