NYC’s Largest Chinese Restaurant Closes Down Temporarily Because of Coronavirus
By Bryan Ke
March 13, 2020
Jing Fong, a Chinese restaurant on Elizabeth Street in New York, will be closing its doors temporarily following a ban made by Governor Andrew Cuomo amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The decision to temporarily close its doors was made on Thursday after the governor made the announcement. However, it was initially reported by the New York Post that Jing Fong’s Elizabeth Street branch has closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a post on Twitter, Jing Fong reiterated that this is only a temporary closure as Cuomo requested to halt any large gatherings that involve 500 or more people.
“We are TEMPORARILY closed due to Governor (Cuomo) requesting all large gatherings of 500 or more to be canceled,” the restaurant tweeted. “We have 800 seats, therefore for everyone’s health and safety, we are closed until (Cuomo) says it’s OK to gather and party again!!!”
It also went on to clarify that the reporter of the article, Jennifer Gould Keil, is not at fault as there was apparently a miscommunication.
“Not @JenGouldKeil’s fault, there was a miscommunication between us since everything was happening so fast since @NYGovCuomo’s order to ban all gatherings of 500 people or more,” the restaurant said.
Even though the Elizabeth Street branch is temporarily closed, the Upper West Side restaurant will reportedly remain open.
“Business there is down 30% to 40% but that is acceptable for now until further notice. But Chinatown has closed,” Claudia Leo, the restaurant’s marketing director, told the New York Post.
“We were going back and forth on what to do all day,” Leo said, adding that the restaurant considered shrinking its seating to less than half its full capacity of about 800. “It is all happening very fast. We were trying to take it all in. It is the best decision for everyone’s sake.”
“We will re-open when everything passes. Honestly, we have no idea when. Maybe when there is a vaccine and a cure but there is no light at the end of this tunnel right now,” Leo added.
As for Jing Fong’s current food stock, the restaurant said they have food that can feed 3,000 people, which may have to be thrown out, according to Leo.
The comment prompted many social media users to urge the restaurant to reconsider by giving food to those in need.
In response, the restaurant said they will consider their options.
Jing Fong was founded in 1978 as a dim sum restaurant with only 150 seats, much less than its current capacity of nearly 800 seats, as written in its about page.
Feature Image via @jingfongny
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