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Vegas Chinatown business owners reporting drop in profits due to coronavirus fears

Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 10:23:45-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On an average weekday afternoon in Chinatown, Shanghai Taste has up to an hour wait.

"Right now, we're about half full," said Joe Muscaglione, managing partner at the restaurant, which opened in Shanghai Plaza two months ago.

He said the strip mall typically feels like a bustling city.

"If the streets, the volume of traffic on the streets is any indication, we're half off -- half to 75% off," said Muscaglione. "There's just a lot less people here. They're afraid of the virus and thinking Chinatown is more of a magnet for the virus."

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Around the corner, Gary Chan is the owner of Dagu Rice Noodle and manages the plaza. He said the restaurant has seen a 20-30% drop in profits the past two weeks.

"We normally would be packed," said Chan, around noon on Tuesday. "As you can see today, we are half full."

Chan said he is concerned about the continued spread of coronavirus and how it could further impact business but he is being proactive, working with other tenants on promotions.

"We're trying to see if there are any type of promotions that we can do together as a whole in the plaza," said Chan.

Shainghai Plaza regulars said they're more concerned about the coronavirus impact on their favorite restaurants than the virus itself.

"i know a lot of people are kind of xenophobic when it comes to diseases especially since they're from China, it started in China," said Bryan A'Hearn, a junior at Clark High School.

Bryan and his friend Rajev eat lunch in Chinatown almost every day. They say they've seen coronavirus fears more evident at school.

"They're wearing the masks and taking other precautions at school, which you don't really want to see at school at a place where you're learning that people are taking precautions of a virus across the whole world," said Rajev.

And although the CDC warned Tuesday of the probable spread of the virus to the U.S., most people said they're not too worried yet.

"it's not a big deal now but I'm not too sure in the future," said Fay Yun, who said if the virus becomes widespread in the U.S. she would consider keeping her two kids at home.

Bobby Dawson said carrying hand sanitzer is the only change he's made in the past month.

"i don't think my life would really change that drastically. Sickness is going to be here whether we like it or not," said Dawson.