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Dining at restaurants resumes in Beijing


2022-06-07 09:03:08

Diners enjoy food served on-site in a restaurant in the Guijie gourmet strip in Dongcheng district in Beijing just after midnight on June 6, 2022. (Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily)

Beijing residents rushed to restaurants on Monday as the city lifted its 36-day COVID-19-related suspension of dining in imposed last month.

Many people lined up outside Beijing"s restaurants late on Sunday night, following the city government"s announcement that dining in would resume at the stroke of midnight as part of a range of measures introduced across the city, apart from Fengtai district and some places in Changping district, where the strict measures would continue.

Hotpot restaurants were among those with long lines of diners eager for a taste of a much-missed favorite, as hotpot is not a feasible takeout option.

Xu Li was among those enjoying her first taste of hotpot in over a month at a Xiabuxiabu restaurant at lunchtime on Monday, saying that "it feels different having food with friends at restaurants rather than at home".

"The atmosphere is so much better, which is important for diners," he said. "Beijing has done a great job in containing the spread of the virus, so that we can get our happiness back pretty fast."

Officials reminded the city"s restaurants that they should continue with the strict prevention measures, such as timely disinfection, employees wearing masks, and examination of customers" health codes and negative nucleic acid testing results taken within 72 hours.

Ding Jianhua, an official from the city"s commerce bureau, said at a news conference on Monday that it was not an easy task to have achieved the current epidemic situation, and all parties should cherish it.

"Restaurants should not hold wedding feasts, birthday parties or other kinds of large gatherings," he said.

Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, added on Monday that restaurants should control the total number of the diners and keep a reasonable distance between each table.

"Takeouts are still encouraged," she said. "People who have a fever or other respiratory symptoms should not go to restaurants to dine."

Beijing reported no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 as of 3 pm on Monday, the first time in the city since the latest outbreak started in the capital on April 22.

"The recently reported three new cases were all from previous transmission chains, according to gene sequencing analysis. The outbreak is now in the final stage," said Pang. "The city has had 1,822 infections since April 22."

The number of new cases in the city has been declining, and no new cases have been reported at the community level since Saturday, she said.

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