Just as China was enthusiastically opening up for business after a weekslong shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have asked the country’s tourist attractions and entertainment venues to close their doors again.
On Sunday, several tourist sites in Shanghai — including the Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower — announced they had received orders to close from Monday “for the need to further strengthen pandemic prevention and control.” The two major attractions had only been open for three weeks since closing in late January, and required visitors to make appointments in advance as well as show a green code on a health-tracking app to vouch for their low-risk status.
The Shanghai Tower, Madame Tussauds wax museum, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, and Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park are also closing their doors again, according to Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper. The ocean park had been closed for 56 days before reopening on March 20.
Another 25 tourist attractions in Shanghai have been ordered to close their indoor sections from Monday, according to local outlet Xinmin Evening News.
The closures come at a time when imported cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in the country. As of Monday, China had 771 cases from abroad — the vast majority being Chinese nationals — while local cases have been steadily declining.
On Sunday, the famous Langyashan Scenic Area in the neighboring Anhui province also said it had received orders from the local culture and tourism bureau to shut down some of its indoor facilities. The attraction had reopened on March 16, receiving 3,000 visitors that day.
Apart from tourist sites drawing large crowds, movie theaters nationwide have also been asked to close their doors. The National Film Bureau gave the order Friday, just a day after Shanghai had announced plans to reopen 205 cinemas over the weekend.
The bureau did not publish the notice directly; rather, the news circulated after domestic media outlets reported about the directive, citing the Jiangsu provincial film bureau, which in turn had received orders from the national bureau.
In the city of Chengdu in the southwestern Sichuan province, authorities have ordered karaoke venues and internet cafes to shut down again, according to local outlet Red Star News. The directive came just days after the provincial-level command center for coronavirus prevention and control issued a notice abolishing previous restrictions on local entertainment venues.
A provincial official told the outlet the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had ordered all entertainment venues nationwide that had resumed operations to temporarily close again. The official added that he wasn’t aware of the reasons behind the closures, or if there was a timeline for the venues to resume business.
On Monday, the central province of Henan also shut down all entertainment venues and internet cafés. The provincial culture and tourism department said the decision was made after a cleaner at a library in the city of Luohe was diagnosed with COVID-19, and added that local companies should “never relax their pandemic prevention and control work.”
The same day, authorities in Fuyang, in Anhui province, issued a similar notice asking local entertainment venues and indoor swimming pools to remain shut, or suspend operations if they had already resumed business.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: The Jin Mao Tower is closed to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shanghai, March 30, 2020. IC)