In Australia, the travel ban has been compounded by almost 100,000 Chinese students being unable to fly Down Under to start the academic year.
“Our main customers are from China… (so) it’s very difficult,” said Su Yin, whose pancake store sits downstairs from a Melbourne college with a large Chinese student base.
Hoping to reassure would-be customers, some businesses have tacked up notices saying they disinfect their interiors regularly to prevent disease.
Others have gone a step further installing hand sanitizer for guests and giving staff face masks and rubber gloves.
But such measures appear to have had limited success.
Rebecca Lyu, a Chinese student living in London, has a hard time convincing friends to join her to eat or shop.
“Some of my friends refused to go eat at restaurants in Chinatown because they are worried about the virus,” she said.
Many believe xenophobia has worsened the situation further.
Fred Lo’s souvenir store in San Francisco is usually frequented by tourists from Europe and South America.