people eating lunch

Watch the full news conference. 

As more people test positive for coronavirus in our County, and fear continues to spread, our small businesses are facing the financial impacts. County Executive George Latimer and members of the Asian American Community joined together to remind residents we are all neighbors and we should not let fear shape biases against those of other ethnicities or religions.   

County Executive George Latimer said: “This Country is stronger because we are diverse. We are stronger because we draw from all the different heritages and we gain from them. In a crisis like this, we have to draw from that diversity, trust in each other, and we will get through this and we will succeed.”

Many Asian-American businesses have seen an economic downturn since the spread of the coronavirus began in Wuhan, China. In the past week, as we have seen a rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in our County, the Chinese community has seen even greater losses of revenue.  

O Mandarin Owner Peter Liu said: “Business has dropped since the virus began in February. People have stopped eating at Chinese restaurants and shopping at Asian businesses. It’s a tough time for small businesses, especially restaurants.”

Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons said: “Providing relief to these businesses is a top priority for the County Executive. It is our understanding that small businesses that have suffered may be eligible for financial assistance from the United States Small Business Administration. We are also working with community partners to explore the possibility of a program to provide relief to small businesses in Westchester County.”

Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission Tejash Sanchala said: “Fear does not excuse xenophobia.”

OCA-Westchester & Hudson Valley Chapter President Grace Pan said: “I want to thank the County Executive for supporting the Asian American community and the local businesses. It is encouraging in light of these difficult days and the incidents of the past weeks.”

Fear of the coronavirus should not affect the way you go about your daily business. It is still safe to eat in local restaurants and shop in local stores. To prevent the spread of disease Westchester County residents should take normal precautions – wash your hands regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbow not your hand, and keep the surfaces of the objects you interact with clean.   

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