Beijing retailers resume business as outbreak subsides

A doctor takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid testing at a community in Haidian district in Beijing, capital of China, May 13, 2022. Beijing has started three more rounds of nucleic acid testing mass in 12 districts from Friday to Sunday, as the Chinese capital races against time to contain the latest resurgence in COVID-19 infections. Photo: Xinhua

Retail businesses and entertainment venues in Beijing restarted limited operations on Sunday, as authorities in the Chinese capital moved to ease strict anti-epidemic measures in some areas amid the COVID-19 epidemic situation. signs of improvement.

In Chaoyang District, Beijing’s most populous district, several large shopping malls including SKP, China World Mall, China Central Place, China Joy City and Solana have announced plans to reopen from Sunday with normal shopping mall checks. health codes and negative nucleic acid test results. .

Beijing authorities announced on Saturday that they would lift quarantine limits for shopping malls in districts that had not reported any cases within seven days. But guest volumes at scenic spots are capped at less than 50%.

An SKP consumer surnamed Zhao told the Global Times on Sunday morning that she heard the news of SKP’s revival and had the day off, so she decided to visit him. “I didn’t come here to buy anything, but just wanted the normal experience of shopping in a mall,” she said.

Another Beijing resident said long queues could be seen in the fitting rooms of several China Joy City clothing brands such as Hollister, Zara and Uniqlo.

“Our operations are back to normal with all employees on duty, but daily nucleic acid testing is required,” a representative from an SKP clothing store told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that sales of the business had been affected by the closure.

Data from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics showed the city’s social consumption in the first quarter of 2022 fell 3.5 percent year-on-year to 457.62 billion yuan ($68.32 billion). The restaurant industry’s total revenue fell 1.2 percent year on year to 35.2 billion yuan.

“The decline is clearly due to the coronavirus, and it will soon return to normal as businesses accelerate recovery,” said Zhao Jingqiao, director of the Service Economy and Catering Industry Research Center of China. the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhao told the Global Times on Sunday that Beijing’s decision to allow business to resume on Sunday was an important step in tackling the recent omicron outbreak, which began in late April.

He called for optimizing current nucleic acid testing facilities and taking specific quarantine measures in different places, based on the experience of the latest outbreak. “Accurate quarantine measures will help service, catering and entertainment businesses reduce their losses if the coronavirus strikes again in the future,” Zhao said.

Hotels and agritainments in five rural districts were also allowed to accept guests. A guesthouse provider in Beijing’s northwest Yanqing district told the Global Times on Sunday that their operations were still suspended and they were awaiting further notices from local authorities.

“Our staff are ready for recovery, and some restaurants are filing application forms to reopen food services,” the person said, adding that he looked forward to the pent-up consumption after the lockdown.

Meanwhile, a total of 8,893 cinemas across the country opened on Saturday, up 411 from the previous day, accounting for 73.56% of the country’s total number of cinemas, according to box office tracker Maoyan.

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