Under heavy social pressure, Chinese officials in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, recently announced the gradual easing of the lockdown. They asked for work and manufacturing activities to start up again. However, several private business owners said the area had been shut down for more than 100 days. Most of the main consumer groups had left Xinjiang, and many companies and stores had no plans to start up again. The department store business was almost gone too.

At a press conference last Sunday, December 4, an official from the Urumqi municipal authority in Xinjiang said that the city now has the right conditions to roll back the prevention and control measures. As a result, all business will start again on the same day.

Last Saturday, December 3, a private business owner in Urumqi made a video saying he would not reopen after the lockdown. He feels sad and helpless.

The business owner said that he talked to his two friends in the catering business. After the lockdown, his two friends are not ready to reopen either. Many people have left the city, and business can only be bad. How much does it cost for labor once reopening? The area has been in lockdown for more than 100 days. A lot of the ingredients have gone off and become useless. What if the lockdown suddenly restarts after new food ingredients arrive?

The business owner said that this is a common mindset. As a result, many stores and factories cannot return to work. Finding employees, importing materials, and setting up logistics takes a lot of work. 

He added that the department store industry has almost been wiped out this winter. Major department stores were closed one after another, such as Danlu Plaza, Wangfujing Department Store, Xidan Shopping Mall, Youhao Fashion Shopping City, Youhao Parkson, Fucheng Department Store, and Siji Jinhua.

Closing these major department stores means hundreds of people losing money, thousands of people losing work, and many people being left in the cold this winter.

According to statistics, about 20,000 people from Xinjiang have moved into Gansu every day during the pandemic. Most main consumer groups have already left or are planning to go.

The business owner said that some communities had been allowed to walk downstairs, and cars could go out into the street since the pandemic. But freedom is not instantaneous. He felt even more lost and sad. Everyone was tired and worried about what would happen tomorrow. No one knew what to do, and people walking on the road went crazy. He complained that his worst Spring Festival will be in 2023.

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