Thursday October 06, 2022

Beijing bans restaurant dining as holiday begins in zero-Covid clampdown

May 01, 2022

BEIJING: Restaurants across Beijing will temporarily ban dining-in and residents will need clear Covid tests to visit public spaces, officials said on Saturday, in a major ramp up of virus controls at the start of the Labour Day holiday.

The five-day break is typically one of China’s busiest travel periods, but the country’s worst Covid resurgence since early in the pandemic is expected to keep people home.

Faced with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Chinese officials have doubled down on their zero-Covid policy, quashing virus clusters through mass testing and lockdowns. Despite mounting economic costs and public frustration, the capital city announced it would further restrict access to public spaces during and after the holiday period.

From May 1 to 4, the city’s eateries will halt dining-in, and only allow deliveries, local commerce official Ding Jianhua told a press briefing Saturday. Authorities also said they have so far prepared 4,000 makeshift hospital beds -- typically used for patients with light or no Covid symptoms -- and are speeding up set-up of larger quarantine sites.