Asian, Jewish businesses feel impact of coronavirus fears

Posted: Updated:

The coronavirus outbreak is leading to more people shying away from businesses owned by people of specific ethnicities or religions, particularly in New Rochelle.

The spread of the coronavirus is leading to discrimination of Asians because the global outbreak started in China, and those who are modern Orthodox Jewish in New Rochelle because that’s where the county’s cases are mainly concentrated.

This is hurting the bottom line at Eden Wok, a kosher Chinese restaurant in New Rochelle that combines Asian and Jewish influences.

"Business has been slightly down, but we are doing a lot more deliveries than normal and I coined the phrase 'drop and dash.' Drop it at your front door, as soon as I leave, you're more than welcome to open your front door,” says Eden Wok owner Josh Berkowitz. “They're concerned for my safety, I’m concerned for their safety."

Local leaders say this type of discrimination is unwarranted and hurts local and county economies.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson sat down for lunch together in solidarity with business owners and community members who are taking on most of the burden and to calm the community down.

"The county executive and I were here to demonstrate our confidence. That it's quite all right to come and have lunch in a great restaurant, that there's no such thing as a neighborhood that is enveloped in a cloud of virus,” said Bramson.

The pair reminded the public that race, religion and ethnicity do not make one more or less likely to catch the virus.

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