WORKERS at Chinese restaurants say people are staying away because of prejudice.

Frankie Tsang has said coronavirus is the “worst” threat he has encountered in 38 years of trading.

Mr Tsang, chairman of the Worcestershire Chinese Association said: “At the moment, my Four Seasons restaurant in Powick is closed for two days a week and I can very easily see it being closed for longer.

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“In 38 years in the trade, this is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

“People are worried about the virus and all restaurants are affected.”

A spokesman for the Cheng Ye Chinese Restaurant Takeaway, Lowesmoor, Worcester said: “The virus has definitely affected this business.

“People are cancelling bookings as the Government tells people to stay at home.”

An employee of the Star Inn, Malvern said: “People are staying at home and not coming in - I think it’s to do with prejudice.”

Cathy Ahmed, who works at Cafe Zam Zam in Church Street, Malvern, said: “The virus is having a big impact on us.

“I think there is prejudice to do with coronavirus and Chinese people, but others are staying away from any public takeaways as they don’t want to catch the virus.”

Worcester City mayor Allah Ditta said: “ It’s sad when people keep away from Chinese takeaways and restaurants - there’s is no evidence to say a person is at higher risk of the virus at a Chinese restaurant than any other.

“I always listen to experts and I’m led by them.

“I don’t want people to panic - if we all stick together we can get through this.” Public Health England figures show one person had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on March 17 in Worcestershire, down from three the same time the day before. A week before, there were no cases. Fashion chain Laura Ashley filed for administration after rescue talks were halted by the coronavirus outbreak. Major cinema chains, museums and galleries closed their doors.

Many events at the Three Counties Showground have also been cancelled amid the current coronavirus pandemic. County streets during rush hour are near empty as many members of the community heed Government advice to either stay or work from home if they can. The Government has pledged an “unprecedented” amount of cash to help businesses and public services.