Chinese restaurants across the nation have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Some restaurants have faced harsh discrimination from consumers who are wrongfully wary that Chinese food is more likely to spread the coronavirus.
According to a study conducted earlier this year by Womply, 59% of Chinese restaurants had stopped taking credit and debit card transactions, indicating they had ceased operations. The study said this was higher than any other type of business.
Here is a look at what owners of Chinese and other Asian food restaurants in Cache Valley have experienced since the pandemic began.
“My name is Neisha Pierce and I’m a manager at Wok on Wheels.”
Pierce said the business has taken a dramatic dive ever since closing dine-in seating. And a slight increase in delivery orders has caused additional issues.
“It was a little harder at first,” Pierce said. “And our kitchen is kinda small so it was kinda hard to just pack all the deliveries cause we were getting so many.”
It’s impossible to say whether the stresses Pierce feels at Wok on Wheels is directly related to the Chineses xenophobia that increased in the United States as coronavirus started spreading, but Wok on Wheels isn’t the only local Chinese restaurant struggling.
Merrel Propes, an employee at Formosa Restaurant, said in addition to declining sales, the restaurant’s owner has been stuck in China even since the pandemic began.
“She hasn’t been to the US in at least 7 or 8 months,” Propes said.
The owner’s son was forced to step up in order to keep the restaurant afloat.
“Thats been a lot of stress on him, his wife is also stuck in China and he's just sort of been thrown into this position,” Propes said.
Other local Chinese restaurants were forced to shut down months ago. Heng Joo, one of the owners and managers of Takara Sushi and Momo’s Sushi and Ramen, said Takara was one of those unfortunate restaurants.
“You can't change people’s mind overnight, thinking that all those stereotypes are gonna go away,” Joo said. “But what we can do is think in terms of how to get better for like the COVID and go from there.”