Shanghai catering businesses to restart onsite services
Published: Jun 29, 2022 01:19 AM
Restaurants are busy with orders in East China’s Shanghai on May 30. Photo: Wu Shiliu

Restaurants are busy with orders in East China’s Shanghai on May 30. Photo: Wu Shiliu

Catering businesses in Shanghai are making preparations for the reopening of dine-in services, which are set to resume on Wednesday as the recent COVID-19 flare-up in the city has been brought under control.

Experts said Shanghai's orderly restart of dine-in services will help the restoration of consumption, adding fresh momentum to economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

On Tuesday, in a shopping mall in Jing'an district, downtown Shanghai, the Global Times saw that most restaurants are still closed off to dine-in customers, with chairs and tables placed at the door, but inside the waiters were busily wiping tables and doing cleaning and disinfection work.

A waitress in a Japanese restaurant told the Global Times that all the employees have returned to work and that they are waiting for further notice on reopening soon.

“We are busy these days, preparing the food and all the materials needed for reopening,” the waitress said, adding that they have received many telephone inquiries from regular customers asking when they would open.

The Shanghai municipal government has announced that from Wednesday city will allow restaurants to resume onsite business in low-risk areas where no outbreaks have occurred in the past week. The specific areas will be determined by each district government after comprehensive assessment of the epidemic prevention and control measures.

In order to meet the COVID-19 prevention requirements, the local commission of commerce has required restaurants to expand the space between tables. Large-scale restaurants must set their tables at 70 percent of the total space while smaller restaurants are ordered to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Most restaurants reached by the Global Times said they are operating at a limited capacity.

“We have removed some tables to keep the dining distance. We will also remind customers to wear masks before and after eating and finish the meal within 1.5 hours,” a waitress at a local chain restaurant in Xuhui district told the Global Times on Tuesday.

She said that the restaurants will resume onsite services from Wednesday and they have already received some reservations.

Zhu Danpeng, a veteran food industry observer, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the orderly resumption of onsite meals in Shanghai will benefit from strong consumer demand and will boost economic recovery and consumption.

According to the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Statistics, from January to May, the total retail sales of consumer goods in Shanghai reached 604.75 billion yuan ($90.35 billion), down 18.7 percent from the same period last year. The retail sales of the accommodation and catering industries reached 40.43 billion yuan, down 32.2 percent year-on-year.