The reopening of Shanghai remains tentative. The lockdown is not fully lifted, but some restrictions have indeed loosened. Nonetheless, compared to the initial expectations for a gradual resumption, the freedom residents are granted is only a drop in the bucket.
In a Shanghai community, residents are seen cramped behind a closed gate. After a person behind the gate signaled time, the gates opened, and those waiting inside immediately rushed out. Most of them were on foot, while some struggled through the crowd on bikes.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), they are permitted four hours to go out.
Shanghai resident Ms. Fang told RFA that only one person per household in the community where she lived was allowed to shop, and for only four hours. But at the supermarket entrance, there was a lineup of people hundreds of meters long.
News media reported that only supermarkets designated by the authorities in Shanghai were opened, with most stores remaining closed.
However, is 4 hours feasible?
A resident from a different community recalls how she spent 3 hours of allowance to go out.
According to Xinhua News Agency, it will not be until after June 1 that Shanghai shopping malls and other stores will all open. Yet, that is still under the requirement that the flow of customers must not exceed 75% capacity. In addition, store visitors will have to have a green health code and a valid COVID-negative certificate within 48 hours prior which is almost impossible to obtain.
Before May 31, stores must keep the total customer flow at 50% or less.