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Calgary Chinatown restaurants, travel agencies seeing reservation cancellations amid coronavirus concerns

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Several businesses in Calgary are seeing some unintended consequences of coronavirus.

Although there are no confirmed cases in Alberta, in Chinatown, officials said restaurants are seeing more dinner reservations being cancelled.

Terry Wong with the Chinatown District Business Improvement Area said businesses in Chinatown are being impacted because of rumours and misinformation.

“There are rumours and speculation that are out there, and as a result, people are making decisions as to bookings and that. We are saying to them, ‘The risk is not here.’ And therefore not to avoid coming to Chinatown and avoid their reservations,” Wong said.

Wong said Chinatown, like other neighbourhoods, is still open for business and it is still safe.

“It’s an unintended consequence — not a consequence that should be in place. People need to understand we’re very safe here right now,” he said.

In addition to Chinatown restaurants, travel agencies are also being impacted as a result of coronavirus.

Shawn Zhou with Top Canada Tours said travel agents have been inundated with requests from people wanting to abandon their travel plans to China.

“People are asking to change their ticket… We get many phone calls,” Zhou said.

Zhou said the company stopped counting after receiving more than 100 cancellations for both flights and tours — and he expects that number to climb.

The heightened concern to China also prompted Travel Alberta to hit pause on its marketing efforts.

In a statement, Travel Alberta said it will continue to monitor the situation and potential impacts on its work in China’s market.

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