In Beijing, lifting anti-covid restrictions relieves restaurateurs and their customers

“I can’t wait!” Like her, a crowd of locals is celebrating the reopening of restaurants. Since the beginning of May, the Chinese capital, with a population of 22 million, has closed bars, cafes, gyms, gyms, museums, or dozens of subway stations to deal with an epidemic outbreak.

“I can’t wait to be there, especially since I haven’t been able to go out for so long,” a smiling Chen Chunmei told AFP. “Every day I would order food or cook. So I really wanted to make a restaurant. ”

Only a few dozen new daily cases were reported in Beijing, but as elsewhere in China, the municipality has implemented a zero-covid strategy to prevent the spread of the virus and deaths. Residents were forced to take a PCR test for several weeks at least every 48 hours, buildings were confined and people were quarantined.

Also read: The slow confinement of Shanghai has begun

“Really bearded”

Chen Chunmei says his residential complex has been confined for two weeks after a positive case was detected. But after those 15 days, it was his subway station that closed in turn. “Since then, I’ve been staying at home,” she said. “At first, I enjoyed working from home. But after a while, it really gets weird. ”

With the gradual drop in the number of new positive cases in Beijing (only two announced on Tuesday), authorities are now allowing residents to return to the office. Schools will be able to gradually reopen from June 13. Universal Studios amusement park has announced its reopening for June 15th. Cinemas and gyms have also reopened – at 75% capacity at the moment.

PCR tests maintained

So eating at the restaurant is again possible, except in two Beijing districts that continue to apply restrictions due to the discovery of positive cases.

While anti-covid measures have limited coronavirus deaths, they have obviously caused economic losses for restaurateurs. “Our May revenue fell by about 65% from last year,” laments Zhang Shengtao, chief operating officer at Beijing Huda Catering, which runs a popular crayfish restaurant chain. garlic and peppers.

“I was looking forward to the recovery,” said Wu Ziwen, manager of Nanjing Dapaidang Restaurant, another chain that specializes in Eastern Chinese specialties. “Of course we lost money” over the past month, although home deliveries have been a bit of a shock absorber, he told AFP.

However, the recovery is not yet complete. Establishments can only operate at 50% capacity, “even if customers flock,” Wu Ziwen said. Beijingers must also have a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old in order to enter most buildings and use public transportation.

Also read: For the Chinese abroad, an endless separation

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