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'We're happy to come here': Burnaby mayor visits Crystal Mall to fight COVID-19 misinformation

Last Updated Feb 21, 2020 at 10:54 pm PDT

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Hurley was contacted by the mall after social media rumours an employee was infected with COVID-19 affected business

He and other politicians visited the mall in an attempt to fight misinformation and support the struggling businesses

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — Burnaby’s mayor joined other politicians at Crystal Mall to put to rest a “completely untrue and unfounded rumour” that has hurt businesses and forced layoffs.

Mayor Mike Hurley was contacted by the mall after social media rumours that an employee was infected with COVID-19 began impacting business.

“Some of the businesses when we walked around the mall said they had noticed a 20 to 50 per cent drop off in their sales over the last number of weeks,” Hurley said after his visit Friday.

“That hits retailers pretty hard, some employees have been laid off because of the lack of business.”

Hurley was joined by several Burnaby city councillors, MLAs and Minister of Health Adrian Dix who all hoped their visit would help combat misinformation.

“Today was our way of trying to combat it by saying: ‘Look, we’re here. We’re quite happy to eat here. We’re happy to come here at any time and feel very safe,'” Hurley explained.

Dix said that avoiding Crystal Mall or other restaurants or businesses run by or frequented by Chinese people is objectionable. He recommends washing your hands as a more effective way of preventing infection.

“The risk in British Columbia of the novel coronavirus is low. It has nothing to do with the restaurants here or the businesses here. None of the cases have had anything to do with it. It doesn’t make sense to be anything but generous in our society.”

RELATED: Misinformation about COVID-19 hurting many Vancouver Chinese businesses

Hurley says he wants people in his city and beyond to trust the information provided by professionals.

“We believe in our health system. That’s where we should all get our information from rather than from rumours that are spread on social media. Please rely on the good information that they put out thee to protect us all.”

There have been six cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

The sixth case was announced Thursday. The patient is a woman in her 30s who recently returned to Canada from Iran.

With files from David Zura