Recreation, tourist places reopen with adjusted COVID policy in China
By Huang Yue
Negative nucleic acid PCR test results and health codes are no longer required for entering entertainment venues and tourist attractions, according to the latest guideline released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China.
The guideline said entertainment venues, including cinemas, karaoke bars, and cybercafes should not be closed arbitrarily, unless they are designated as high-risk areas.
These venues are also required to continue timely disinfection to create a safe environment for customers.
Customers haven't flooded in yet, but business owners are optimistic
Liu Di, a business owner of a live action role playing (LARP) games venue in Beijing, says although the COVID-19 control measures are eased, it seems customers are still taking a wait-and-see attitude.
"We have prepared antigen test kits here for customers to reassure them. When they come, they can take the test if they want to, and the result can be shown very fast," Liu adds.
Going to the gym is another thing people have grown to miss during the epidemic, with many saying prolonged home quarantine and working from home have prevented them from getting fit.
"Our gym was opened in early 2020, so you can tell how hard it was for us to survive the three-year epidemic without going out of business," says Chen Tongtong, a fitness coach at a gym in Beijing.
Chen adds she is optimistic about the future as she says if there's anything people have learned from COVID-19, that's the importance of having good health.
"Although customers haven't all come back yet, I think the past three years have taught people to pay more attention to their health and appreciate life. I hope more people can join us for physical exercise," Chen says.
Cinemas have also heard good news.
Last week, the Beijing Film Bureau notified cinema goers that they will no longer be required to show negative nucleic acid test results.
"I believe the situation will be better soon, especially that the highly anticipated Avatar 2 will be released in the coming days," says Han Dan, a cinema manager in Beijing.
"Avatar: The Way of Water," is set to hit the big screen in the Chinese mainland on December 16, the same day as in North America.
The movie has already earned 112 million yuan ($16 million) in the box office in just advance booking of tickets, as of Sunday.
Other cities across China
Shanghai Disneyland has resumed normal operation since December 8 after being closed for over a week.
Visitors are still required to have negative test results within 48 hours to enter dining halls, the same requirement as other restaurants and canteens in the city.
In Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, karaoke bars and pubs have resumed business.
Local residents say live-house performances have also resumed with many audiences coming back.
The renowned Sanxingdui Museum, in Chengdu's neighboring city Guanghan, has also reopened without checking visitors' health codes, nucleic acid test results or travel history anymore.
Following the country's newly released ten prevention and control measures, various sectors in China have continued to make a slew of adjustments to optimize their response to COVID-19, including catering, transportation, healthcare and education, gradually bringing life back to normal.
(Cover: Many parks in Beijing reopened, December 8, 2022. /CFP)