Food&Drink Writer Eleanor Howson discusses the damaging effect of Coronavirus on Chinese restaurants, urging us to support from the safety of our homes

Written by Eleanor Howson
Images by Engin_Akyurt , needpix

The Coronavirus threat has led to unreasonable fears about the Chinese community

The Chinese Quarter is usually a thriving tourist spot in the heart of Birmingham. Yet, upon the outbreak of Coronavirus in China, the number of visitors to the Chinese Quarter dropped significantly. According to the Worldometer, China has had a total of 3,281 deaths from the virus. Cathrina Hulse-BM, writing on the behalf of Birmingham Live, contended that the fear of the Coronavirus threat has led to unreasonable fears about the Chinese community. The food industry in the Chinese Quarter has been seriously affected by these fears. In an interview with the head chef at Tamechu Indo-chino Cookhouse, Cathrina Hulse-BM was informed that the Coronavirus was impacting trade in such a negative way, that even the Chinese community had been keeping distant from the businesses in the area since the Chinese New Year in late January. 

But the damage of the outbreak of Coronavirus extends even further, to Chinese takeaways across the country. Joseph Gamp, a journalist for The Sun, reported that a Chinese takeaway in Reading begged for business by displaying a sign in their shop window appealing for customers to continue visiting. The sign stated “The staff and owners… have not been to China for over 20 years. All ingredients are sourced within the UK and EU.” Undoubtably, the outbreak of the Coronavirus has created unjustifiable prejudice. Thus, it is likely that the Chinese takeaways and restaurants in Selly Oak are also feeling a strain on business. 

There are still ways to help struggling Chinese businesses whilst enjoying delicious food

And yet, the British love a Chinese takeaway. In fact, Claire Toureille (a writer for the Daily Mail) contended that in 2019 a Channel 5 documentary ranked Chinese as Britain’s favourite takeaway; Indian and fish and chips followed. However, it seems that the fear of the coronavirus has overtaken our love for Chinese food! If you want these restaurants to remain on the high street once the pandemic is over, you might consider ordering a takeaway from a Chinese restaurant, be it once or twice a week! Even though it has been advised that we all self-isolate and restrict unnecessary travel in response to the virus, there are still takeaways operating that provide door to door service. You do not even have to leave your house to help! Check Facebook or ring up the restaurants to see if they are offering this service. There are still ways to help struggling Chinese businesses whilst enjoying delicious food.

Evidently, Chinese restaurants and takeaways have been hit unfairly due to the Coronavirus threat. We need to do all we can to ensure we act as a community and not out of fear or discrimination in this uncertain time. 

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