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San Diego restaurant owner fights coronavirus scare with 'hyper hygiene'

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 07:33:55-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Some local Asian restaurants are feeling the effects of the coronavirus scare.

Many owners and managers claim the fear of the virus spreading is hindering people from going out, so customer numbers are dipping. But the owner of Jasmine Seafood Restaurant is finding unique ways to ease the fear of his customers and staff.

Chinese restaurants are still feeling the Lunar New Year spirit. At “Dim Sum,” the food comes to you. Point and get served.

“The food’s delicious. As you can see, we ate it all,” customer, Jayne Moulton, laughed.

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For Moulton and her friends, this meal is an annual tradition. But unlike usual, the restaurant is not packed.

“During the weekday evenings, I do see some decrease,” Jasmine Seafood Restaurant co-founder and owner, Dr. Allen Chan, said.

Chan said ever since the coronavirus scare, customers during the week have only been trickling in. Especially after Thursday, then the World Health Organization declared the epidemic as an international public health emergency.

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So Chan, who is also a doctor, had an idea: Fight the fear with hyper hygiene. He installed two hand sanitizer stations at the entrance for customers. He is also making servers and staff use the sanitation pumps every few minutes.

He also reminded customers not to share cups, and use serving spoons for family-style meals.

“We encourage people to use that instead of double-dipping into the food,” Chan said.

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He even started playing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) notes on the coronavirus on the restaurant giant Powerpoint projector.

“People are more aware of it,” Chan said. “The more they see it, the more they’ll remember to practice it.”

Customers, including Moulton, appreciate the gesture.

“I think it’s great that they’re taking precautions and educating the public,” Moulton said.

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But Chan isn’t done. A few days ago, he special-ordered masks for his servers. But the shipment never came in.

“We were not able to get it. We were supposed to be able to get it today,” Chan said.

He said he skipped the middleman and ordered directly from the distributor. But the products are in such high demand from around the world, that the shipments are being delayed.

“We were so happy that we can have that and start a trend in San Diego, encouraging restaurants to have their employees use that especially those who are facing the food,” Chan said, disappointingly.

Once they arrive, the servers will don the masks. But until then, Chan will continue to use every line of defense to make sure his customers and staff feel safe.

“Cross the fingers that nothing happens in San Diego,” Chan said. “But we have to have these precautions so that everybody can keep their good health, especially for the new year.”