Asian-owned stores in New York City are reportedly fully stocked but lack customers because of the xenophobia surrounding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Asian grocery stores remain abundant with items while other stores are running out of supplies, according to NY1.
“For us, the supply chain is going to be fine because we are already preparing for this event. Because we saw what happened in Asia and we kind of went through this with Hurricane Sandy,” Kingston Shih, an employee of H Mart, said.
Meanwhile, a Korean store in Woodside, Queens experienced a busy afternoon, but the lines remained short. There was also a stock of disposable gloves at the store.
“All of the messaging about vilifying Asian-Americans and this anti-Chinese sentiment from the president really is going to hurt our — it’s hurting our community, but it’s also hurting the grocery stores,” Asian American Federation executive director, Jo-Ann Yoo, said. “They’re small businesses. They’re small-business owners. They’re ready to serve the community.”
Yoo was referring to the frequent use of the phrase “Chinese Virus” by President Donald Trump during press conferences. Many celebrities and politicians called out the president for spreading xenophobia and for endangering the lives of Asian Americans.
Bernice A. King, the youngest daughter of iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., also expressed her support against the rising violence towards Asian Americans on social media.
Yoo added that many Asians in New York are living in poverty and they don’t have the luxury of stocking up on goods even if they wanted. But Shih reminded them they don’t need to buy in bulk.
“We don’t want anybody to worry. We think this will be an issue that we’re going to have to live with. But it’ll be fine,” Shih said.
Food Emporium in Astoria has experienced a shortage of canned goods, bread and paper products, while Japanese-owned Family Market across the street still has a full stock.
In San Francisco, only a few people were lined up paying for food, which were quickly replenished by an employee. Rice, noodles, tofu, dried seafood and preserved vegetables were all in stock, the SF Chronicle reported.
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