To implement the zero covid policy, Shanghai closed the city for three months and did not allow people to circulate or conduct business. On June 1, the Shanghai government announced that the whole city was now unlocked. However, the joy did not last long; most of Shanghai fell into a freeze, and restaurants were not open as usual.
According to Deutsche Welle, restaurants can only sell takeaway, but the number of customers remains low. Many restaurant owners in Shanghai are forced to violate the policy to save themselves and cut their losses, and they are illegally opening to accommodate dine-in customers.
A netizen recounted that he and his family passed a large hot pot restaurant a few days ago. Seeing the dim lights in the restaurant and an employee cleaning the window, he asked: “Can I eat in?”
The employee asked softly: “How many people? ” He whispered: “Three.”
After looking around carefully, the waitress invited the group of guests to the upper floor, where it was well lit, and the diners were enjoying themselves.
Deutsche Welle also cites another incident describing a pub operating undercover on June 23. Seeing guests arriving, the waiter quickly said that no dinner was served. The customer said his last name was Wu, and he had made a phone appointment. After looking through the customer’s phone, the waiter quickly invited the guest to go upstairs. Just like the first instance, the upstairs was full of people eating and chatting. Another netizen also posted an image depicting a meal being served at a restaurant in Shanghai. The dining table was full of a variety of dishes. However, there is no lighting in the restaurant. Instead, customers use their phones as a light source and enjoy the meal together in an informal way.
Financial burden creates two options: break the law or close the restaurant
Shanghai Observer has surveyed 53 coffee shops around NanChang Road, where Shanghai’s busiest coffee shops are located, showing that: 13 have closed; two will close at the end of June; 16 are open, faced with difficulties and did not know if they could survive; 22 shops tried to persevere through difficulties.
A house for rent on the main road in the NanChang area, with an area of 20 to 30 square meters, costs from $6000 to $7400 per month. The newspaper quoted residents saying that in April and May, tenants still had to pay cash despite the closure.
In June, Shanghai opened up and allowed the sale of takeaway food and drinks.
However, one restaurant owner told the Shanghai Observer that if it were only open for takeout, it would be better not to open. Because customers can’t come in to eat, they can only buy and then leave. Their average income is only one-tenth of what it used to be. Expenditures cost restaurant owners more, and restaurant owners still have to pay rent for the premises.
South Of Hope quoted some food industry insiders as revealing that the monthly loss was more than 150 thousand dollars during the Shanghai ban. To survive, restaurants must come up with many different options. And breaking the law is one way that most restaurant owners choose.
When shop owners break the law, people behave stealthily
South Of Hope cites an article by Raistlin Raist, who has millions of fans, saying that now it’s not just about having dinner, but I always feel that everything in Shanghai is sneaky. All walks of life are slowly starting to use other ways of communicating.
Instead of calling restaurants back in business, shop owners will say they hire a few acquaintances to come to try the food. If a customer arrives at a gymnasium, there will be a “closed” sign outside, and the trainer will secretly take you inside.
The newspaper also cited an experience of a netizen when going out to eat with colleagues. They went to eat on the second floor of a shopping mall, where there was only a gap in the curtain. The food served is all takeout boxes wrapped in plastic bags. Customers will take the plastic bag and quickly leave if there is a chance of being caught. If they are discovered, they will say they bought takeout. When he asked his colleague how he felt, the colleague said that he felt very excited and wanted to eat like that again.
One netizen joked that this is a way to stimulate business.
Another resident said that the government is only good at causing people to riot but does not know how to fight the epidemic. “I’m feeling very upset.”