Markets regain vitality in Shanghai as epidemic abates
Nanhui 8424 watermelon, a popular summer fruit variety for many Shanghainese, hit the market just as the mega-city reported a decline in daily numbers of new infections.
The seasonal fruit grown in the suburban Nanhui area of Pudong New Area in Shanghai, is treasured for its sweet, juicy taste.
Zhang Tao with Pudong's agricultural association said that this year, the planting area of the watermelon neared 10,000 mu (about 666.7 hectares), which is the same as last year.
"Retail channels such as Hema Fresh, a fresh produce supermarket, facilitate the watermelon's quick distribution to households across Shanghai," said Zhang.
"Purchases of the watermelon this year are 40 percent higher than last year," said Zhao Jiayu, vice president of Hema Fresh.
In Shanghai, more and more residents are now able to shop at supermarkets as many districts have curbed community transmission of COVID-19. As of Thursday, among the 1,626 stores in 12 key supermarket chains in Shanghai, 1,193 stores have resumed business, of which 220 stores have resumed offline business.
French retailer Carrefour has seen its nine stores in Putuo, Qingpu and Songjiang districts restart offline business. By Sunday, 80 percent of Carrefour stores in Shanghai are expected to resume offline business, serving customers both on- and offline.
Gu Jun, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said that supermarket outlets are encouraged to provide both on- and offline business in epidemic-free areas, and offer "centralized online ordering and delivery" service for residents in closed-off management areas.
Chen Feng, owner of a restaurant named Nomad, said it only took three days to get a permit to reopen after the business was closed for nearly 50 days during the outbreak.
Since April 30, the restaurant has begun to sell food through online food delivery platforms.
Yu Zhongjia, manager of the commercial complex where the restaurant is located, called the merchants the source of the vitality of the complex. About half of the catering enterprises in the complex have restarted online business.
As of Thursday, more than 1,000 local restaurant chains in Shanghai had resumed online business, according to the Chinese online food delivery platform Meituan. On Thursday, the platform's beverage takeout orders increased by more than 1.5 times week on week, and the number of food and snack suppliers increased by more than 70 percent week on week.
Since March, various financial institutions in Shanghai have issued loans of 33.5 billion yuan ($5 billion) to 731 anti-epidemic material supply and logistics enterprises, according to a press conference on the city's epidemic control on Sunday.
Meanwhile, loans worth 72.3 billion yuan were granted to more than 10,000 catering, retail, tourism and transportation enterprises affected by the epidemic.