The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, described this Sunday as “outrageous” that taxi drivers in this city are not offering their services to Chinese passengers for fear of contagion with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) and warned that there will be “consequences “.
“There will be consequences for anyone caught taking part in this kind of racial, cruel profile,” De Blasio said through a tweet, after it was revealed that this community was facing this situation.
Taxi drivers in the Big Apple admitted to the New York Post that they are not accepting these passengers and some have stopped working in sectors of the district of Queens, where there is a large population of this country.
In China, the number of those affected by the coronavirus has exceeded 60 thousand cases and has caused at least 1,380 deaths, most in the province of Hubei, epicenter of the spread of the pathogen, which has generated fear among New Yorkers despite that no case has been reported in this city.
“I feel bad about that, but when I see Chinese passengers, I simply go,” a taxi driver who preferred anonymity told the Post while others have been avoiding certain neighborhoods with large Chinese populations, such as Flushing, in Queens, where it is estimated to be located 70,000 emigrants from that country.
“If I leave someone in Flushing, I deactivate the Uber application (to request the service of a taxi) and I go to another area. I don’t know who has it. I worry about myself, my family and my passengers,” said a driver to the New York newspaper.
The fear of contagion has also affected sales in stores in the popular Chinatown sector in Manhattan.
Just a few days ago, De Blasio called on citizens to go to stores in Chinatown, which has suffered a decrease in sales of up to 60 percent.
This action by taxi drivers is punishable by a fine of $ 500, the first time, for discrimination imposed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission that regulates this industry in the city and which could also revoke the driver’s license.
The director of the Commission, Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk recalled that this practice “is illegal” in New York and called on anyone who experiences the situation to contact that public agency.