Coronavirus: Chinatown business owners say unfounded fears keeping people away

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- During lunchtime Friday in Chinatown, the crowds were missing, but the masks were not. Business owners told us off camera that unfounded fear of coronavirus have kept people away.

The Chinatown Business Investment District officials say its been all too obvious.

"We definitely have noticed that the restaurants have slowed down a bit. I think it was most noticeable on Chinese New Year, which is usually our busiest day of the year. We have a big festival, a big parade and this year our attendance was probably down to a quarter of what it usually is," said Shirley Zhang with the Chinatown Business Improvement District.

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And it's not just Chinatown.

The coronavirus effects have been ripping through the entire economy. U.S. stock markets have been hit by their worst weekly loss since 2008.

"It has the potential to be pretty devastating if it really takes off," said Professor Adam Rose.

Major companies are already paying the price.

Starbucks say half of their stores in China are closed because of the epidemic.

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Diet Coke is warning of shortages because access to a key ingredient made in China has been shut down.

Even the entertainment industry is taking a hit. Korean pop group BTS announced on Friday it has cancelled its Asian tours.
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