Yesterday, a PSA was sent out by Toronto’s main kashrut agency, the COR. It stated that with escalated fears of Coronavirus in the media, people in Toronto have been avoiding its main kosher Chinese restaurant, Golden Chopsticks.
Note: I am not a health expert. This article is an opinion.
Kosher diners have been visiting this restaurant for 23 years without issue, but now, the restaurant is in danger of going out of business because locals are misguided in thinking that visiting or eating food from a Chinese restaurant will make them sick with the Coronavirus. If an employee of that restaurant, or any restaurant (kosher or not), were sick with flu-like symptoms, they’d stay home and not be at work, as was the case for the last century.
The COR went on to state that “The York Region Health Inspector yearly guarantees the public’s ability to eat at Golden Chopsticks without any concerns and did so again recently. This sign of approval is prominently displayed in the restaurant’s window. As an added precaution all food is now prepared with surgeon’s plastic gloves and clinical masks.”
More importantly, there isn’t a Coronavirus outbreak in Toronto at this time. According to GlobalNews.ca, “Ontario now has a sixth confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, and while it is the first instance in the province of human-to-human transmission, health officials say the risk is still low.” It’s worth stating that some of these cases are from people who traveled to Iran, not China! Should we stop eating at Persian restaurants now too? No.
Chinese citizens of Toronto are not more likely to have the virus because they are from China. If they traveled to China recently there’s a good chance they’re either being closely monitored or completely fine, statistically. To avoid a Chinese restaurant and not other ethnic restaurants is misguided, foolish, and xenophobic.
If you’re concerned about your health and want to avoid contracting the Coronavirus, you should avoid traveling to regions affected by it, or better yet, avoid going to places where other human beings are altogether.
Commuting, traveling, attending synagogue, or large events are now all places where we may soon need to think about avoiding. Let’s hope that it doesn’t get to that point here in North America. In the interim, continue to be cautious in your day-to-day lives but also mindful that avoiding a Chinese restaurant will not protect you any more than avoiding a kosher deli will.
If you’re going to go to out to eat, don’t limit your choices based on xenophobic or misguided fears. If my words here don’t assuage your fears, there’s always takeout.