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With virus, shops in China suffer a star-crossed Valentines

SeattlePI.com Friday, 14 February 2020 ()
BEIJING (AP) — In virus-stricken China, couples can celebrate Valentine's Day with a roast beef salad, hot chocolate, a rose and a note, all delivered to their door.

The note, scrawled on the front of their sealed order, states the body temperature of the chef who made it.

Moka Bros, a health food eatery in Beijing, offered this special on Friday, Valentine's Day, after a new coronavirus struck central China in December. Like many businesses, the restaurant has struggled to cope with the impact of a disease that has infected more than 64,000 people worldwide and sent several Chinese cities into lockdown. Fearful of infection, people are overwhelmingly choosing to stay at home and cook for themselves.

“It's devastating,” said Alex Molina, founder and creative director of Mosto Group, which owns Moka Bros and three other restaurant and bar concepts in China.

Of the nine Moka Bros locations, only three have remained open through the outbreak. Molina is fairly certain some of the stores will be forced to close permanently, which would mean at least $1.5 million in losses.

“It's just a matter of time. How long can we stay alive?” said Molina, a Colombian who started his first business in China in 2006. “We've been working on this project for 13 years, and then you see it crumble in front of your face, and there's nothing you can do."

The disease, named COVID-19, is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan, Hubei's capital. It has since spread to more than 20 countries, though the bulk of the cases remain in Hubei. The government has imposed sweeping measures to contain the epidemic, cutting off outbound transportation from the hardest-hit cities and prolonging the Lunar New Year holiday.

The impact on the food, beverage and entertainment industries has been crippling. Authorities in Hubei have...
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Recent related news from verified sources

With virus, shops in China suffer a star-crossed Valentines

BEIJING (AP) — In virus-stricken China, couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day with a roast beef salad, hot chocolate, a rose and a note, all delivered to...
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