Deserted dining: Restaurant patronage plummets as coronavirus outbreak escalates
Restaurants in areas popular with Chinese tourists are suffering as the deadly coronavirus outbreak escalates.
Traders in Box Hill say they’ve seen a massive drop in customers eating at their restaurants.
In Glen Waverley, specialist sea urchin restaurant Uni Boom Boom has taken the drastic step of ceasing to accept dine-in customers.
“Due to the current climate of outbreak we at Uni Boom Boom would like to instill the greatest steps and prevention measures for our beloved staff, customers and fans. In viewing the safety of all our fans we at Uni Boom Boom will stop accepting dine in diners,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post.
The restaurant’s decision comes after a man dined at nearby Chinese restaurant, House of Delight, last week before being diagnosed with the coronavirus, leading health authorities to contact other diners who ate at the restaurant on that night.
Chief executive of the Restaurant and Catering Association, Wes Lambert, said the drop in restaurant patronage is due to a lack of tourists from China and not caused by domestic coronavirus fears.
“We’re not hearing anything about domestic fear related to customers,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.
“Most of the restaurants that we see and we’re speaking to that are actually being affected are being affected by the inbound tourism from China directly.
“They’re used to dealing directly with tour operators that line up dining weeks and months in advance.
“Chinese tourism is worth a billion dollars a month to Australia, of which about $280 million would be to restaurants, cafes and caterers, which is a huge amount related to the total spend in Australia in food and beverage.”
Press PLAY below for more.
Image: Peter Carlsson / Getty