A Chinese restaurant in New Jersey has been vandalized with racist messages regarding COVID-19 this week.
Gourmet Garden, a family-owned business, is located in a small strip in Wyckoff and was the only establishment vandalized Tuesday night.
Spray-painted all over the building were the words “COVID-19,” “coronavirus” and “Go home to China.”
The restaurant owners arrived Wednesday morning to see the police already at the site, which serves takeout and delivery amid the pandemic.
A cleaning crew from a local business, AOA Cleaning Restoration, arrived to wash off the graffiti.
James Higgins, daily operations manager, said that the company will not charge for its services, according to NorthJersey.com.
The Wyckoff Police Department is investigating the incident as a bias crime.
“The investigation thus far shows no other reason for the crime other than the ethnicity of the business and its owners,” Lt. Joseph Soto said, according to Daily Voice.
Police Chief David Murphy described the incident as “a cowardly act meant to alienate a member of [the] community.”
“This incident is not a reflection of our Wyckoff community, but rather a reflection of a hate-filled person,” he said.
The incident easily disgusted members of the community, who offered support by ordering food and telling owners how sorry they were.
“This sickens me,” Trisha Grover told ABC 7. “I feel like this is the political climate of today, and it makes me very sad. I think they have hate in their heart, and it’s a horrible thing to have hate in your heart, for someone you don’t even know.”
Anyone with information that may be valuable to the investigation is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Michael Ragucci or Detective Sgt. Kevin Kasak at (201) 891-2121. Tips can also be sent to [email protected]