Beijing city bans dining at restaurants due to tightening Covid controls in China

As part of the latest Covid control measures, China’s capital Beijing has banned in-store dining as a five-day holiday has begun, prompting restaurants to sell food on the street.

Kevin Fryer | News Getty Images | Getty Images

BEIJING — Two months after the start of China’s latest Covid outbreak, many businesses in the country’s two largest cities by GDP are facing new or existing restrictions on their operations.

Over the weekend, the capital Beijing closed theme parks and banned dining at restaurants to control Covid – just as the five-day vacation began. During the holidays last year, domestic tourism revenue across the country more than doubled from the previous year, according to official figures.

Universal Beijing Resort is closed on Sunday until further notice. All gyms, entertainment and concert venues, internet cafes and other indoor sports facilities must be closed for the holiday, which officially runs until Wednesday, city officials said.

A major luxury mall in the city said on Friday it would temporarily close due to Covid-related restrictions.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, which has some of the strictest citywide restrictions in place, there have been some signs of easing restrictions in the past few days.

On Saturday, the city announced that it had added 1,188 more companies to its whitelist to restart production. According to an initial list of 666 companies released in mid-April, including 247 foreign-funded companies, more than 80% have reopened, the city said.

Before the second list was released, the EU’s China Chamber of Commerce said the whitelist “is a promising sign that Shanghai will bounce back.”

But a shortage of truck drivers and the movement of workers between factory bubbles and their homes remained a problem, said Bettina Schoen-Behanzin, the chamber’s vice president and chairman of Shanghai. On Friday, she estimated that supply chain and logistics problems would last until the end of June.

The number of people in Shanghai subject to the most stringent stay-at-home orders fell to 2.5 million as of Monday, from 5.3 million four days earlier, according to official figures. On Sunday, municipal authorities announced that the virus had been detected at the community level in six districts of Shanghai, but not in most of the city’s downtown areas.

The city said it is creating sites for regular virus testing.

On Monday, mainland China reported a drop in new symptomatic Covid cases to 368, compared to nearly 1,000 or more in recent weeks. Shanghai reported the most symptomatic cases with 274, while Beijing came in second with 51 new symptomatic cases.

While residents are not allowed to leave parts of the city under lockdown, businesses in other areas generally remain open for those who have tested negative for the virus within the last 48 hours.

In the past week, Beijing has conducted several rounds of mass testing. He also announced that weekly tests would be required after the holidays in order to use public transport or go to public places such as supermarkets.

On Sunday, the city announced the opening of a 1,200-bed centralized quarantine facility.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Studios and CNBC.

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