China is relaxing its anti-COVID-19 measures. However, as reported by Xin Tang Ren on December 11, small business owners in Wuhan, China, are struggling to make a living since the long-term lockdowns have deeply affected the economy.

The long-lasting lockdowns have lept Wuhan residents feeling cautious even as restrictions are eased. Some stores and restaurants in the city are barely operating, and some simply remain closed.

Zhu Chongping, who has run a small restaurant in Wansongyuan for 30 years, said people used to find the best dishes in the Wansongyuan food court. However, looking at the empty seats in the restaurant, he feels helpless.

Zhu said, “It’s really hard, really hard. I can’t do business like this anymore.”

He added, “In our street, store owners are still struggling. They all believe that life will return to the way it was after the relaxation. Everyone has this fantasy.”

Wang, who runs a clothes shop, said, “The number of customers is much smaller. The impact of the pandemic is still quite large. Hanzheng Street is also a wholesale market, and the flow of people used to be quite high. Many tourists from other cities used to come here. But now, all of that is basically gone.”

A luggage shop owner, Liang echoed, “Businesses are holding out. See the situation, see after the release, see if there are people from outside next year, see what the flow of people will be like. If next year is still the same, store owners will have to withdraw.”

Zhang Taisu, a professor at Yale Law School, believes that the authorities have come too late to save the economy.

Some shopkeepers said that if the situation continues, many businesses will have to close their doors.

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