Beijing makes efforts to ensure people who choose to stay put during Spring Festival have a happy holiday amid COVID-19
By Pan Junqiang, People’s Daily
As China’s capital city Beijing called on residents to stay in the city for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, for the sake of security amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it has taken various measures to ensure a happy holiday for residents, especially those who come from other areas of the country.
As a long tradition that has been kept for thousands of years, returning home to enjoy family reunion during the Spring Festival bears great significance to Chinese people.
However, as the world is still haunted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and some Chinese provinces are troubled by sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and even cluster infections in some areas, it is necessary for the country to encourage residents to stay where they work for the holiday and avoid gatherings.
Recently, officials from districts and government departments in Beijing have actively taken action to ensure those who choose to stay in the city for the Spring Festival have a safe, healthy and happy holiday. They introduced specific measures and comprehensive services, and visited relevant groups of people to guarantee sufficient supplies of daily necessities for them.
“I come from Shandong province. In response to the call of the government, this year I will stay in Beijing for the Spring Festival,” said Lu Jianyuan, a security guard of a residential complex in Beijing, while hanging up festive decorations for the upcoming festival together with residents of the complex.
According to Lu, residents from other cities of the country have received gifts from the local neighborhood committee, including the Spring Festival couplets and paper-cuts of the Chinese character “Fu”, which means happiness.
“For construction workers that will stay in Beijing for the Spring Festival, we have formulated plans to guarantee adequate supplies, prepared traditional dinners for the eve of the Spring Festival, and covered their lodging areas with Wi-Fi,” said an official in Shijingshan district.
Many companies in Beijing have rolled out incentives such as attractive salaries and generous gifts for the festival to encourage employees to stay in the city for the holiday.
Beijing-based NAURA Technology Group Co., Ltd. not only prepared gifts for employees, but launched activities for the festival, including lucky draw.
“This year’s Spring Festival will certainly be both fun and meaningful”, said Liu Yujian, an employee with the company.
Decorations for the Spring Festival such as red lanterns, Chinese knots and colorful flags can already be easily seen in many public spaces in Beijing, such as the Xiangshan Park.
During the festival, the Xiangshan Park and many other parks in the city will open to the public for free.
Besides, the city plans to issue electronic coupons for cultural consumption and vouchers for ice and snow activities for residents during the Spring Festival.
Beijing will also launch online exhibitions and shows, promotion events for tourist destinations and temple fairs, and provide more cultural and sports programs via the Internet, television and radio.
China’s three major telecom operators, China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile, will introduce a 20 GB data plan for each cell phone number registered in Beijing for free during the Spring Festival.
“I’m very touched by the thoughtful measures rolled out for people who decide to stay in Beijing for the Spring Festival”, said Qi Huilan, a staff member at an elderly care center in Shijingshan district.
Qi plans to stay in Beijing and celebrate the Spring Festival with the elderly in the center this year. She is going to have video chats with her daughter who will be far way in northwest China’s Gansu province.
“I want to show my daughter through video chat what the capital city is like during the festival,” Qi said.
As many migrant workers staying in Beijing for the holiday plan to do some odd jobs to earn extra money, Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area has adopted the innovative model of “sharing employees” to match companies in need with part-time job seekers.