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Fear of the Coronavirus is said to be taking a toll on local Asian-owned businesses

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-16 18:37:00-05

BOZEMAN — Fear of the Coronavirus is said to be taking a toll in Chinatowns and Chinese-owned businesses across the country.

Even in smaller cities like Bozeman, restaurants like the Bamboo Garden have seen a dip in business, especially this last week.

“The last few days the business almost like shut down,” said Lisa Tang, who owns the Bamboo Garden along with her husband, John.

While the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak is thousands of miles away, Chinese restaurants across the United States have reported a swift and sudden decline in business.

The Bamboo Garden in Bozeman has noticed the trend as well, and that has LisaTang and her staff worried.

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“They think if we close, they don’t have a job. That’s why they worry,” said Tang

Days after celebrating the end of the Chinese New Year at their restaurant, news of an individual being evaluated for Coronavirus at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital slowed business way down.

Empty tables and too many staff on the floor.

“Lunchtime 12:30 still nobody. Dinner time is 6:30...nobody”

But a negative test result reported from the Gallatin City-County Health Department now has Lisa and the staff relieved.

“We’re so happy to see the health department up the news their talking about okay, it’s not the virus,” said Tang.

Lisa said the lunch crowd today was the biggest she’s seen all week.

But even with the negative test result, she’s still concerned about customers fearing the virus.

It is a trend that seems to be affecting Chinese owned businesses across the country.

Lisa said it’s unfortunate… but she is sympathetic.

“I understand. I really understand.”

Businesses like the Bamboo Garden in Bozeman are offering discounts to try and promote business during the difficult time.

Lisa says the Bamboo Garden will offer 15 percent off the authentic Chinese menu.