Fear-mongering over the coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken a toll on many Asian businesses across the world.
In Australia, misinformation has caused a major slump for many Chinese restaurants. Now, Australians are taking a stand against the growing racism and xenophobia towards Asian Australians with #IWillEatWithYou, a campaign to encourage support of local Chinese businesses.
Much loved Chinese & Asian restaurants are at risk of going under.
Misinformation and fear about coronavirus has left many eateries losing huge numbers of customers.
— GetUp! (@GetUp) February 18, 2020
The hashtag #IWillEatWithYou urges people to dine at Chinese restaurants to keep them from going under.
Introduced by community action organization GetUp!, the hashtag #IWillEatWithYou was posted by participants on social media last week to let the public know that it is safe to dine at Chinese restaurants.
“Can you pledge #IWillEatWithYou & eat at an Asian restaurant to show your support?” a post asked supporters.
“While other restaurants and public spaces are still buzzing, it is the Chinatown restaurants and Asian grocers that stand empty. Panic around the virus is unfairly impacting Chinese and Asian communities,” a post on the organization’s website stated. “If we don’t take action – people will lose their jobs and their livelihoods. Can you take the pledge to defeat baseless fears and support these businesses in their time of need?”
Shark Fin, a 30-year-old restaurant in Melbourne’s Chinatown, was forced to shut down after its sales dropped by 80%. In an interview with The Age, owner Gabriel Chan shared that he had to let go of over 40 staff members and 10 other workers.
“It’s very hard… With customer fears of coronavirus still high, we can see numbers reducing,” Chan said.
He made the decision to close the restaurant in order for his other restaurant, Shark Fin Inn to survive.
“We’re very sad, very unhappy, but we still have to work, so I would tell the people don’t scare, come to the restaurant, support us.”
Australians have been responding positively to the campaign with tweets using the hashtag, #IWillEatWithYou.
— Ash Green (@AshUKTradeCQ) February 18, 2020
Supporting our Chinese brothers and sisters was a great way to kick off the weekend. Couldn’t make it to #Chinatown so compromised. My little family enjoying dinner at our fave dumpling spot in Ringwood #IWillEatWithYou pic.twitter.com/OmHADEALv2
— Amy Linnea Muratore (@amy_linnea) February 21, 2020
I don’t need much encouragement to eat out at my favourite #Chinese restaurant: Gong de Lin on Swanston St https://t.co/2Fvzlw8wAB. Enjoyed a delayed Valentine’s lunch of #vegetarian treats with @DrSimonEvans on the weekend #IWillEatWithYou pic.twitter.com/RHUZH8H6kX
— Melissa Conley Tyler (@MConleytyler) February 17, 2020
I’ve been eating food delivered from Asian restaurants every night (Isolating myself for 2 weeks as govt asked arrivals from China to do).
— 💧 Simon Ashworth Wood – #NoWarWithIran (@Simon_A_Wood) February 16, 2020
— Natalie Fong 鄺黎頌 (@MissPom) February 22, 2020
Asian businesses and eateries are at risk of shutting down due to the spread of discriminatory Coronavirus misinformation. We can’t let people lose their jobs and livelihoods. Stand in solidarity, and take the pledge now. #IWillEatWithYou https://t.co/k58v8qZt4r via @GetUp
— Kathleen Schilling (@KathleenSchil14) February 18, 2020
Susie Cole shared a photo of her family eating at a Chinese restaurant in Melbourne on Sunday. In her post, she lamented the closure of Chan’s Shark Fin restaurant.
“Last week our family (Mum, Josie, Mason & granddaughters Poppy & Daniella & me) ate at Harmony (Chinese) restaurant & had no qualms about coronavirus or anything else, but this week, iconic Shark Fin restaurant in Little Bourke St has closed after nearly 40 years & countless other family run Chinese restaurants are in peril because people are avoiding them for baseless fears,” she wrote.
“Please keep patronising the Chinese restaurants you love, please visit fire affected rural communities & spend money there, small businesses need customers to survive. #IWillEatWithYou.”
The campaign has since spread to other countries, including Ireland and the United States.
— Shannon Schultz (@adventuresinedu) February 18, 2020
— BetterThanHuman 🇺🇸 🔬 👩🔬 🦠🧬 🏳️🌈 (@BetterThanHuma1) February 18, 2020
Some of the UCD Global team enjoying a working lunch at their local Chinese restaurant
— UCD Global (@GlobalUCD) February 20, 2020
Feature Image via GetUp!