Small business owners are complaining as strict Covid measures in Beijing make them struggle to make a living. 

Beijing authorities recently banned the so-called “seven small places” from opening.

This measure affects small restaurants, Internet cafes, hotels, public bathing, dance halls, barbershops, and convenience stores. 

In an interview with Radio Free Asia, a few Beijing residents shared their concerns about this order.

Mr. Wang, a resident in eastern Beijing, told reporters that many of his friends have suffered from this order.

One of his friends owns a small food store. After the order, he had to close it. The ruling leaves no exception. If the authority asks anyone to close it, they must close it. No one has the right to question.

Mr. Wang said such small stores are basically small businesses. Some stores have already sold food at discount prices. Many restaurants set up a few tables at the door, selling cooked food or something. They rely on this to make a living amid the lockdown time.

In fact, Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a Covid-prevention guideline for these seven small types of businesses. The guideline only requires such places to control passenger flow and set up a system to monitor workers’ health. And Chaoyang district—Beijing’s central business district and home to many foreign embassies—has said that Seven Small Stores that were closed by now can “resume business in an orderly manner.” 

But in reality, authorities shut down all of these businesses. And Beijing residents are to suffer.

Mr. Qin, a resident from Chaoyang District, Beijing, said that there’s no reason to close the “seven small places.” If it is for epidemic prevention, then wouldn’t people get Covid from each other when authorities order Covid mass testing in the community? He said that closing small shops to fight Covid is purely tossing the ordinary people. 

Mr. Qin said that now many people are having a hard life under the current epidemic prevention measures. People have to apply for a pass to enter the community. Many small and medium-sized enterprises and restaurants have closed down. A lot of people have their freedom limited. And people are questioning the government’s reasons behind these strict epidemic prevention measures.

Mr. Qin said that Xi Jinping’s opponents in the Party must be pleased as public sorrow rises under this situation, especially as the big Party election is approaching.

Mr. Qin also said that some of his friends criticize the Covid policy. His friends said that the small shop owners are already in a complicated situation, and the authorities now forcibly shut them down. The only reason for this is that they want to toss the people. Maybe the government has long seen these stores as offensive, and now they have found a reason to shut down these low-end small businesses. After that, the government might start the planned economy 2.0 and all measures that harm the ordinary people.

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