Shanghai restaurants offer secret dining, ‘hire’ customers for the night — Radio Free Asia

Restaurants in Shanghai offer secret eateries with lights out and fake recruitment campaigns in an attempt to circumvent the city’s strict COVID-19 restrictions, RFA has learned.

Residents of the city told the RFA that despite the official lifting of a city-wide blockade on June 1stthe municipal authorities have not yet lifted a ban on in-house dining.

“They still do not allow people to eat in,” said a resident of Huangpu District named Yang. “I can only eat in secret in the upstairs area, as dining is generally not allowed, only takeaway.”

“My brother did the same thing – a friend invited him out to eat and they went upstairs to an area of ​​the restaurant you could not see,” he said.

Photos and videos uploaded to social media showed people sitting at restaurant tables full of food but eating the light from their cell phones to avoid alerting enforcement personnel about their presence.

Other posts said some restaurants had asked diners to fill out application forms to work there, claiming they were employees allowed to eat together at restaurants.

When their meal was over, the diners withdrew from the payroll, the reports said, comparing the process to an underground party.

“Many restaurants are closed because they have not been able to survive [lockdown]which has lasted for more than three months, “said Yang.” If you rent premises … it’s going to cost tens of thousands of yuan a month, so they have not been able to keep up with it. “

Community volunteers stand at an entrance to a residential area during a Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai's Huangpu district, June 22, 2022. Credit: AFP
Community volunteers stand at an entrance to a residential area during a Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai’s Huangpu district, June 22, 2022. Credit: AFP

Test burden

Shanghai’s 26 million people are still required to take a COVID-19 test several times a week to be allowed to move in public, residents said.

“If you have to go out, leave your residence to see the doctor, go to the supermarket, take the bus, etc., you must have a negative PCR test result from the last 48 hours,” a resident of Jing’an district. the nickname Dai told RFA.

Authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen announced similar requirements for anyone using public transportation in the city, including taxi hire or carpooling.

Beijing-based topical commentator Hua Po said the impact of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s zero-COVID policy on the Chinese economy has been enormous.

“Beijing is conducting mass PCR tests for all employees and there is a lot of money involved,” Hua said. “The municipal government in Beijing is in a very strong financial position and it has the money to spend.”

“But the situation is very different elsewhere,” he said. “Some local governments are very poor and people are being forced to pay for the tests themselves.”

Hua said the policy is more about political performance and official rankings than public health.

“If officials fail to prevent or control COVID-19, they will be severely punished, so party and government leaders implement these policies while trying to help local governments and take on the double financial burden,” he said.

Abuse of health code app

A resident of central Hubei province, who gave only the surname Lu, said PCR testing is still mandatory in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

“Things can not go on like this … the economy is really bad and can not cope much more with this,” Lu told RFA. “Many companies, logistics and supply chains can not continue.”

“Such frequent PCR tests are completely ridiculous … it would be better not to have any tests at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, a resident of central Henan province said they are suing the government for using the “health code” COVID-19 app to restrict their movements during protests by depositors who are unable to withdraw their money from the Agricultural Bank.

Xie Yanling, a resident of Dingzhuang Village in Henan’s provincial capital, Zhengzhou, told Caixin.com that she is suing the authorities for allegedly changing her health code in traffic light style yellow despite submitting a negative PCR test result, the day she was due to attend a court hearing regarding the demolition of her home.

“It’s inexplicable,” a person with knowledge of the case told RFA. “The code had been green.”

“I wish they would implement the relevant policies in a normal way, legally and in the light of day,” the person said.

Cai Fan, a retired associate professor of law at Wenzhou City University in Zhejiang, said health codes are being used for “stability maintenance” purposes in China.

“This forced demolition involves the interests of the village committee and the local government,” Cai said. “If they change your health code yellow to hearing, you will not be able to enter.”

“Then, after a period, the government will level the ground, put new buildings there, and you will not be able to do anything about it,” Cai said. “It will be a fait accompli.”

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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