Since news of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus business at Auckland Chinese food establishments has dropped by up to 60 per cent and the NZ Chinese Cuisine Association says many may be forced to shut.

Association board member Harry Cai said most of the association’s 500 members were “bleeding” and struggling to keep afloat. Cai, who is the general manager of Guangzhou Hotpot in Newmarket, said his restaurant has had more than 200 cancelled bookings since the coronavirus epidemic started.

Cai wants Government to run a campaign to get locals to support Auckland Chinese restaurants. “Many of the fear is unfounded, there is not a single case of coronavirus in New Zealand and we need the officials to tell people that it is safe to eat out.”

A Restaurant Association NZ survey found business to be down by as much as 60 per cent at Chinese restaurants here. Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the survey showed there had been some effect on businesses with restrictions on travel through China resulting in fewer visitors.

“We are hopeful that once the restriction has lifted, business will return to normal,” Bidois said.
“We enjoy a vibrant and diverse dining scene in New Zealand, and we want to see that continue.”

The association was offering extra marketing and mentoring support to affected businesses.