Coronavirus concerns impacting businesses in Chinatown-International District

SEATTLE — Coronavirus concerns are hitting the Seattle Chinatown International District hard.

Ambrosia Cafe in the Chinatown International District has been serving up boba tea also known as bubble tea since 1997.

But lately, business has taken a big dip.

“It's slow, it's slow everywhere. It's slow. Nobody come out,” said owner Chris Kwok.

He said it's the slowest it's ever been. He estimated business is probably down about 40-50%. He thinks customers are staying away from the Chinatown International District because of fears and misconceptions of coronavirus.

“No people want to come out, afraid of the virus even though we might not have any virus. They just think we might. They don't want to take the chances,” Kwok explained.

So far, there's only been one confirmed coronavirus case in Washington. A man in Snohomish County tested positive and he has since been released from an Everett hospital.

Health officials say the risk of contracting the virus is low.

While he's struggling to make ends meet, other retailers are trying to cash in on the virus. On Amazon, you can find a slew of t-shirts for sale. Some of them say "I survived coronavirus," "Coronavirus made in China," and "Keep Calm and resist Coronavirus."

“It's not funny, I think. Because when I read the news in China, many people suffering. It's a bad situation right now. So I don't think it's a good thing,” he said.

For Kwok, it’s no laughing matter. He’s worried he’ll have to permanently close up shop if business doesn’t pick up.