Photos of a tourist attraction in Beijing last weekend show the crowd on the winding wall, crowded together and squeezing each other through narrow doors. Most wear face masks – but many people, including young children, pulled their masks down to their chins, and some felt it was a completely Forgone mask.
Near zero local transmission, people flocked to bus stations, airports and transport centers to travel across the country for the holidays, which began on 1 October. Local officials competed to attract tourists, with provincial and municipal governments issuing travel vouchers and tourists. Attractions offering free or discount tickets.
On October 4, Chinese tourists crowd the gates of a section of the Great Wall.
Kevin Frere / Getty Images
These restrictions include social distances of one meter (about 3.3 feet) from each other. The notice said, “There is a strict ban on gatherings. An earlier guide on the Great Wall website reminded tourists to wear their face masks throughout their visit and urged them to follow the guidance and management of the museum staff.”
None of these restrictions were closely followed this week due to the crowd of tourists facing the walls.
Tickets for the Badaling section of the Great Wall have sold out completely during the Golden Week holiday.
Kevin Frere / Getty Images
When the department reopened in March, the new restrictions reduced the number of daily visitors to 30% of its normal capacity. Prior to the Golden Week celebrations, officials increased that capacity to 75% of normal capacity, a daily limit of 48,750 visitors.
China’s longest Golden Week holiday with the Lunar New Year holiday has traditionally seen a large number of middle-class Chinese travel abroad. But this year, visa restrictions, quarantine requirements, a lack of international flights, and the ongoing threat of Covid-19 are that Chinese travelers are looking for domestic instead of travel.
In the first four days of the holiday alone, 425 million domestic tourists visited China – more than 45 45 billion in revenue, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
This week’s relaxed restrictions and violations of social distance rules are paradoxical compared to the concerns that have plagued China’s last major travel period – the lunar New Year holiday in late January spread to Wuhan.
On January 23, two days before the Lunar New Year, the Chinese government locked Wuhan – but by then, the virus had spread across the country and beyond, as millions of Chinese traveled for the holiday.
As more information about the virus emerged, Chinese transit hubs emptied; Those who still traveled were usually equipped with full protective gear, including plastic gloves, ponchos, helmets, facial ingots and goggles.
Chen Qianmei, 29, of the southern city of Guangzhou, said feelings of imminent fear have now subsided dramatically since he went to Shanghai for a holiday last week.
He told me CNN, “I think China (the virus) is under very good control.” “I wear a mask and bring alcohol wipes to clean my hands, especially before eating – although in Shanghai, fewer people wear masks now.”
CNN’s Amrut Gaan contributed to this report.
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