As the end of March approaches, China has experienced a few changes regarding the Coronavirus. While there are still many quarantine rules and restrictions, overall the number of cases has drastically dwindled and things slowly and hopefully seem to be returning to normal.
Interview with Adventures Around Asia
I had a chat with travel blogger Richelle (from Adventures Around Asia) to talk about all things Coronavirus related and how it’s affected China and daily life in Beijing. We talk about many things including:
- What it was like staying in China through Coronavirus lock down
- Why I chose to stay in China rather than fly home
- How teachers with my company Career China transitioned to teach online
- Should you still apply to teach abroad in September?
- What’s it like for the people in Chinese quarantine right now
Beijing During the Coronavirus
I also wanted to share a bit more about life in Beijing: how the restaurants and supermarkets are, what quarantine rules are in place, and what I’ve been up to during the past two months since my last blog update.
*Note: this is just my personal experience. People in other parts of Beijing and other parts of China will have different experiences with quarantine rules. To see more of what my friends around China have been up to during this time, check out my blog: Coronavirus Q&A with My Chinese and Expat Friends in China
Beijing Restaurants and Supermarkets
Many restaurants remain closed, but there still are plenty of options open in Beijing. Restaurants and businesses that are open have strict rules about how many people can sit inside and how closely they can sit next to each other. Most restaurants have a 2-3 person limit for tables.
For some restaurants this is manageable. For other places that rely on people being in close proximity (like bars and pubs), this is much harder. Still, we want to respect those rules so that these businesses can remain open. You’re also required to wear a mask inside and need to write down your name, phone, address, and temperature before entering.
Grocery stores and supermarkets are still open and running smoothly. They remain fully stocked with no panic buying (and yes, plenty of toilet paper!) Some stores have rules about how many customers can be inside, so you’ll see lines outside the doors of some supermarkets.
Last month I had to register with my hutong neighborhood and received a card with my neighborhood address on it. The hutong entrances around Beijing are all blocked now, and you need to show your neighborhood card and get your temperature taken to go inside – no outside visitors are allowed in. This is pretty much the same for all apartment buildings around Beijing and China.
Outside the hutongs, these blue and grey tents have been set up. Members of the community will rotate who is watching the entrance and taking temperatures of people walking in.
New Overseas Quarantine Rules
In mid-March China implemented a strict two week quarantine in designated hotels for people arriving overseas. This is different than the quarantine rules before, when you could fly into Beijing and do isolation in your apartment. Now your apartment has to be approved by your community for quarantine – you have to be living alone with no roommates, along with a few other rules. If your community does not approve, you have to go to a government approved hotel (at your own expense).
I have a few friends currently staying in one of these government hotels. He has a robot bring him his meals everyday which is actually quite humorous.
When the robot sees him it says: “Of all the people I’ve seen in the universe, you are the cutest. Come take a selfie with me if you want. Cheese!”
He wrote about his experience here.
What I’ve Been Doing in Beijing
During the past two months, amidst the ups and downs of the coronavirus here in China, I’ve been trying to stay not only healthy, but also productive (while also trying to stay positive and have some fun!) Here are some of the things I’ve been up to.
Working from home and from cafes
I’ve been working from home and not in our office since the beginning of February and will likely remain doing so for awhile longer. I worked from my hutong in the beginning, but now venture out to work from cafes during the day. Luckily many of my favorite Beijing cafes have been open: Wiggly Jiggly’s, Moka Bros, Alba, and Tientien are a few great ones!
Long Walks Everyday
Since spring weather has come to Beijing, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside walking – it’s great for my physical and mental health! I recently made a goal to walk 10 miles everyday. I love taking long walks around Beijing through the parks and around the streets and have visited Jingshan Park for a view of the Forbidden City several times.
Of course, like everyone else, I’ve been watching Netflix. I finished Love Is Blind (omg!) and have been watching Schitt’s Creek, Brooklyn 911, This Is Us, and various other shows.
Recording Date Night China Podcast
At the end of last year, two friends and I created a podcast all about dating in China. Dating in general can be such an interesting experience, and then living in such a culturally diverse country like China just adds to the fun! You can listen to our Date Night China podcast here.
Sharing Good Memories, Photos, and Stories of China
Although I can’t travel right now, I’ve been re-sharing some favorite memories and photos from previous travels in China on Instagram. I’ve also been sharing daily updates and videos of what life is like in Beijing on my Instagram Stories.
Meeting Up With Friends
After social distancing for some time in early February, many friends and I started meeting up to grab coffee, drinks, or dinner. We have to meet in small groups (mostly) but it’s been nice to have some time with friends.
Last month there were less restrictions about the number of people inside a restaurant, which is why you’ll see so many of us here in these photos (we have all done quarantine/self isolation already).
I’ve been chatting with family and face-timing my mom a lot.
House/dog sitting for a Friend
For two weeks in February I house/dog sat for some friends who were away in Cambodia. It was really fun to have a furry companion to hang with and take on walks.
Coronavirus Stories and Memes
In an attempt to stay positive and find some laughter, people have been sharing some memes and interesting stories related to the coronavirus. Here are some other memes that were popular in China last month: China Coronavirus Memes and Photos.
Stay Strong – Jiayou!
I’ve also been watching the news and social media reports about the coronavirus and how it quickly spread to Italy and then the rest of Europe and the U.S. It’s been interesting to watch how things have unfolded after experiencing coronavirus measures for two months here in China. My thoughts go out to people in other parts of the world – stay strong!
It seems there is some light at the end of the tunnel here in China as places open and people resume some normal routines. We’re all trying to remain positive during this time. Hope you and your family and friends are remaining safe!