Minnesota African Restaurant Changes Sign Over Ebola Paranoia (Video)

| by Michael Allen

An African-themed restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Minn., had to cover up the word "African" on its sign because of Ebola paranoia.

Mama Ti's African Kitchen's owner Kellita Whisnant claims that her business has dropped by 50 percent because customers wrongly believe they can catch the deadly virus through her food.

“This African name that brought people in before, is now hurting me," Whisnant told My Fox Twin Cities (video below). "We get the jokes, the ridicule."

In response, Whisnant has covered up the word "African" on her restaurant's sign with tape.

“Now they're even afraid to shake our hands,” added Whisnant. “Just putting that tape up there triggered emotions that I keep down, but that really hurt. I want people to know my beef is from Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Department of Health has tried to educate the public, but paranoia and ignorance rule the day.

“We know for certain that it is not transmitted through food,” Aaron Devries, of the Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Division, said in a statement. “Please help us eradicate that stigma.”

"We were going through before the Ebola scare, we were going through about 80 pounds, to 160 pounds of chicken every five days," Whisnant told KPLC. "We have had customers coming in and actually standing in front of us at the counter saying, 'Do you have Ebola?'"

Whisnant may even change the menu from Liberian to American deli food.

“What could I bring in at this point to satisfy your fear,” Whisnant told My Fox Twin Cities. “Will you come in and eat out of this restaurant if I sell Philly cheese? If I do jumbo wings and fries?”

Sources: My Fox Twin Cities, KPLC