After Beijing reported zero new COVID-19 cases for three consecutive days, service industry participants, from retail vendors, travel agents, delivery drivers to restaurant owners are awaiting a much-anticipated recovery in the coming months.
“Once the coronavirus is fully contained in Beijing and banquets are allowed, liquor sales will boom,” Song Zongheng, who owns Beijing Yongsheng Cigarette and Liquor Co, told the Global Times Thursday, adding he remained positive about the city’s service sector revival.
However, restaurants are more cautious about a quick recovery as the latest outbreak of COVID-19 started in the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, infecting vendors and some restaurant workers who purchased food supplies there.
An owner of a Sichuan restaurant in Beijing’s Chaoyang district said their customers had only recovered to half of its capacity, and the recent outbreak had brought another blow to the city’s catering industry.
While dining-in services were hurt, many people who were laid off found work with couriers and food delivery companies thanks to the city’s broad 4G and 5G coverage, which enables mobile delivering platforms.
“After the epidemic, delivery orders are surging now,” a deliveryman surnamed Zhang who works for Meituan-Dianping, an online food delivery platform, told the Global Times.
Some in the tourism sector are struggling to pay their office rent while others refuse to close their business. Jia Jianqiang, CEO of 6renyou, an online tourism agency in Beijing, told the Global Times the company had shifted its core business from arranging overseas trips to domestic service.
Online travel agency Trip.com told the Global Times Wednesday that flight reservations by Beijing residents for July and August – summer vacationing time for students – were the highest among cities in China.
Chinese guesthouse booking platform Tujia said that bookings from Beijing surged four times after the capital city said residents leaving the city no longer required a proof of negative COVID-19 test result. It estimates that bookings will recover up to 70 percent in the summer vacation.
In 2019, the service sector contributed 87.8 percent to Beijing’s economic growth, playing a pillar role.