Customers are staying away from the three-year-old business out of fear of contracting the disease that is spreading rapidly throughout West Africa.
The African name that once brought people in is now causing ridicule and stigmatization, with one customer even flat out asking if MaMa Ti’s had Ebola, the restaurant’s owner Kellita Whisnant told Fox 9 News.
Whisnant said that it has gotten so bad that people refuse to even shake her hand.
Fed up with the stigma, she finally gave up and blocked out the word “African” on the restaurant’s sign this past weekend.
“Just putting that tape up there triggered emotions that I keep down, but that really hurt,” Whisnant told KSTP 5 Eyewitness News.
Even though Whisnant is covering her restaurant in fliers with facts about Ebola from the Department of Health, she predicts that her business will not last another three months if things don’t change.
5 Eyewitness News reports she is even considering changing the entire concept of her restaurant, moving away from her homeland recipes and adding Philly Cheesesteaks to the menu.
Although it has been explicitly stated by the Center for Disease control that you can’t catch the virus through food legally grown or purchased in the US, many still have their worries.
The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, took his wife and health commissioner out to lunch at the Meatball Shop where Ebola patient Craig Spencer ate last week to dispel such concerns. Blasio wanted to prove that everything was safe and sanitary and tried several items on the menu.
After the meal, de Blasio told reporters that, “this is a city that does not fall into a pattern of looking at fears. Everyone is going about their business as normal,” according to GrubStreet.
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