LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Concerns over the coronavirus impacted several Asian businesses across the valley at the start of the pandemic.
“Back in March, with the onset of the pandemic, there definitely was a lot of fear and uncertainty. Barely understanding the new virus,” said Ronnakon Silpasuvun, owner of Archi’s Thai Bistro.
Back in the spring, the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce (LVACC) estimated that business for most Asian restaurants was down between 40 and 60%. That decline was far more significant than other non-Asian restaurants.
“We had one older lady who was just trying to help somebody with their groceries, and she got yelled at. Someone said to her, ‘hey, don’t touch my groceries, I don’t want your germs,’” said Sonny Vinuya, president of the LVACC.
Now with it being the end of the year, several Asian restaurants, like Archi’s, say they are not experiencing that type of behavior from the public anymore and that they will make their quota for the end of the year.
“Of course, it’s not the same as before, and this time is probably one of the busiest times of the year, having to deal with limited capacity at the moment, but the good thing is the optimism. We still see a lot of patronage now than we saw before, which is great, and the restaurants are breaking even,” said Vinuya.
Silpasuvun believes his three restaurants will end the year in a good place, not having to deal with racial bias. However, he acknowledges the fact that we are still in a pandemic, so the decrease in customers is still prevalent.
“Usually this is the busiest time of the year, but this is also a very different year so we’ll see what happens,” said Silpasuvun.