A popular Melbourne restaurant described as an ‘institution’ has been forced to close its doors amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
Chinatown’s Shark Fin House, on Little Bourke Street, has suffered an 80 per cent drop in business in the last few weeks.
Watch the video above
The restaurant, which opened in 1989, is part of the Shark Fin Group, which also owns Shark Fin Inn and Shark Fin Keysborough.
The latter two restaurants remain open and it’s unclear when or if Shark Fin House will reopen.
The news has shocked Victorians, with some describing the news as “disgraceful”.
“This place is/was an institution, my favourite place in Melbourne for Sunday morning yum cha,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Living overseas really opened my eyes to just how racist Australians truly can be sometimes and this is a perfect example.
“Please go and support your local Chinese restaurant because seeing this just truly breaks my heart.”
Another described the closure as “heart-breaking”.
“Get out and support your local Chinese restaurant. They are doing it tough,” a third person wrote.
Call to action
Chef and owner of nearby restaurant Annam, Pho Nom and Glen Waverley’s Bia Hoi Bar Chef Jerry Mai said the industry is in need of help amid the virus outbreak.
“Chinatown and Glen Waverley are ghost towns right now, diners are staying away because of fears of illness,” Mai wrote on Instagram.
“I’m putting my hand up – my businesses are suffering and I need help.”
Mai said business at Bia Hoi is down 80 per cent, with the CBD venues down 50 per cent.
“Things are dire and we need your help – I’m not exaggerating when I say that restaurant doors will close unless something happens right now,” Mai said.
“This is no longer just a disease it’s allowed racists to rear their heads in a time when we should be coming together!”
‘Completely abhorrent’ behaviour
Earlier this week, both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese took a stand against racism in the wake of the virus.
“This is a very significant challenge, and the Chinese-Australian community has risen to that challenge,” Morrison said on Tuesday.
“They deserve our great appreciation and support”
Albanese told parliament Chinese-Australians had been undeservedly targeted as a result of the virus.
“The fact is any racist behaviour will not be tolerated and it must be called out” he said.
More on 7NEWS.com.au
“All of us must stand up and speak out against the ugly, divisive and racist behaviour which has been directed to some of our fellow Australians.”
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy added there was “no reason for people to avoid anybody of any particular background or appearance”.
“We are very concerned about xenophobia and any sort of racial profiling, which is completely abhorrent,” he said.