Metro Denver Asian-American businesses see drop-off amid coronavirus fears

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DENVER — Concern about the spread of coronavirus in Colorado is taking a toll on many businesses, especially those in the Asian-American community.

Many restaurants, nail shops and beauty shops say business has slowed down.

Some customers want to limit contact with people who may have traveled between the U.S. and Asia.

At China Jade restaurant, in the Far East Center at South Federal and West Alameda, owner Shun Auyeung was cooking up a storm Thursday afternoon, but all the food was for takeout.

The dining room was empty. Not one soul was seated at a table.

Employee Hector Ortiz said business has been slow for a month.

“I think it because of the coronavirus,” he said, “People are scared.”

At nearby Viet’s Restaurant, there were customers in the dining room, but not as many as usual.

Customers Penny Everest and Mary Sturm said they’re not letting concern about the virus stop them from eating out.

“I think as it gets closer to our state, it might prompt me to see things a little bit differently, but for now, I just think you need to carry on as usual and not get freaked out about it,” Everest said.

“I enjoy going out and having lunch and enjoy Asian food tremendously, so it really wouldn’t change my mind at all,” Sturm said.

Viet’s staff was happy to hear that.

Employee Jubilee Man Le told Denver7 it’s best to remain positive.

“Try to limit the fear and have a positive vibe,” he said. “Good news will come.”

Business is off a bit a TL Salon and a few other shops in the center, but not at Little Saigon Supermarket.

“It’s the only Asian market I come to because I can get everything I need,” said Andrea Sigmann, who was shopping with her husband, Walter, Thursday afternoon.

They said they have no concerns about shopping with everyone else.

Store Manager Khanh Do said the only impact he’s noticed from the coronavirus, is a shortage of some items.

He said he’s having difficulty keeping big bags of rice in stock.

“The small rice, I’m still okay, because people just look for the big bags,” he said. “like 50 pound and 25-pound bags.”

Mr. Do said his vendor, in California, said a shipment would likely come in over the weekend.

“I heard that certain stuff from China is going to be limited for a while, ” he said, “but products from other areas are still coming in.”