7 Things You Need to Know About Life in China Post-Lockdown

One woman in China shares the ins and outs of what the country has experienced since lockdowns lifted.

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It's hard to believe now, but there was a time when many people saw the coronavirus as an epidemic specific to China—in particular, the outbreak's epicenter of Wuhan. But today, it's a global pandemic, with the amount of positive cases spiking across the U.S., while China's numbers have largely dwindled down. As we all prepare for life after lockdown and start to adjust to our new normal, we wanted to get some insight into how much has changed for the people of China. So, we talked to Shirley Hong—a wholesaler and mom of two who lives in the Guangdong province, near the Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital—about what life looks like now in the age of COVID-19. Here are the seven things she most wants Americans to know about life in China post-lockdown. And for information about the post-quarantine world, check out 7 Things You'll Never Want in Your Home After Coronavirus.

1
Schools reopen depending on the grade.

Students wearing protection masks to prevent coronavirus in classroom
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Different provinces are approaching schools reopening differently, but in Hong's Guangdong province, junior high school and high school students are returning to school first before younger grades. "And if [schools] have to reopen," she says, "all teachers have to be tested and students [coming] from the Hubei province have to be tested." And for more on how schools may look stateside, check out 7 Things You'll Never See in Schools Again After Coronavirus.

2
People are still afraid to go to restaurants.

A business owner changing the store sign to OPEN after being closed for a period of time due to social distancing guidelines related to Coronavirus.
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Hong says that when she's alone in her car, she doesn't wear a mask. Everywhere else, she does. And she is still afraid to go to restaurants, "because you have to take off your mask to eat food." Between January and now, she has only been out to a restaurant once. "Even if a restaurant is safe and open and you wan to go out, you still have to persuade yourself [to stay home]," she says.

3
There are temperature checkpoints on the roads.

Security nurse take temperature of the person entering the hospital with surgical mask.
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According to Hong, there are regular checkpoints on high-speed roads where "doctors and police officers check your temperature and ask about your travel history for the past 14 days." Only if your temperature is normal and you have no record of traveling to Wuhan are you "released to move on," she says.

4
You are regularly asked to self-quarantine.

Back view of young woman sitting on bed in the morning
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At the end of February, after a month of lockdown, Hong first traveled into the city to visit her warehouse to prepare to return to work. As a result, "the local governor asked me to self-quarantine again for 14 days," she recalls. Only after could she get permission to reopen the warehouse. "You can feel no matter where you go, there are always people asking you [to] self-quarantine," Hong adds. And for ways to stay busy while you're isolating, check out 17 Things to Do by Yourself While You're Social Distancing.

5
Businesses had to meet a series of requirements in order to reopen.

Staff check fever by digital thermometer before entering buildling
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The first businesses to reopen in China were factories creating personal protective equipment, Hong says. But in order to open, they had to apply to local governments for permission, report any employees from the Hubei province, and have proper equipment for all employees, including masks, disinfecting spray, and thermometers. A government representative reviewed each application in order to approve reopening, Hong says. And for businesses you'll want to avoid for awhile, check out 7 Germiest Public Places You Should Avoid Even After They Reopen.

6
And there are requirements they have to meet to stay open.

closeup of a young man in an office holding a briefcase and a surgical mask in his hand
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According to Hong, all businesses are required to check employees' temperatures daily. When working, employees must wear masks and keep a safe social distance. "If only one case is found at a company, the company has to shut down," Hong notes. Then, everyone at the company, plus everyone who lives in the building where the positive patient lives, must self-quarantine as well.

7
Testing is free and frequent.

People lined up for temperature checks before entering the Chunxi Road, downtown mall in Chengdu, China
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Anyone who travels to and from the Hubei province to work has to go to the hospital to get tested for coronavirus, which is free, Hong says. Then, they have to "offer a certification to show they aren't infected" in order to return to work. And if you're looking for a testing site in the U.S., check out Here's How to Find COVID-19 Testing Options Near You.

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