THE Coronavirus disease originated in the Chinese region of Wuhan, has taken its toll on businesses run by immigrants from the eastern country, in Alicante, where they have suffered losses in turnover of up to 30 per cent. The plummeting of the clientele has affected retail outlets, such as wholesale stores of bags, clothes and shoes, bazaars and especially restaurants. Some schools where Chinese is taught have suspended classes because they have who has just returned from China after the New Year and have to spend a fifteen-day quarantine without leaving home as a precaution.
Among Chinese immigrants who speak Spanish well, they are safe in knowing they will not have communication problems but among those who do not speak the language, there is fear of going out in the street in case they suffer social rejection or some kind of xenophobic attitude, explains Alessandro Zhou, who runs a business in the Carrús, in Elche, where there are a hundred wholesale establishments of Chinese commerce.
Zhou has companions who have expressed their fear but they are also grateful that many customers in Alicante “come to ask us how we are and tell us that they are very sorry for what is happening.”
He also pointed out that “I have friends throughout Europe. In Spain, things are somewhat better but the friends I have in Italy say that there they connect what happens in China with the Chinese. When they see a Chinese face, they treat you as if you were a virus.”