Thousands of Chinese residents who have been self-isolating for a month are now queuing for up to two hours to be allowed inside shopping centres slowly reopening amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Many of those visiting say they are not even planning to buy anything, they are just desperate to get out of the house and get some normality back in their lives with some window shopping which is apparently worth queueing for.
In the city of Xi’an, capital of north-western China’s Shaanxi Province, 10 shopping centres reopened on 27th February following more than a month of inactivity.
Designer shops are welcoming back regular customers too during reduced opening times of between six to eight hours, but food courts remain closed.
Despite visit numbers remaining relatively low, residents who have not been able to shop for over a month are still standing in long queues outside as staff and security personnel usher them through health checkpoints.
Each customer is required to wear a face mask and has their temperature screened as they enter at a crawling pace of no more than 10 every minute.
The 10 shopping centres which have reopened in Xi’an include household names Wanda, Wangfujing and Saga, as well as Intime, SKP, Joy City and Zhongda International.
One woman queuing outside told local media: “I’ve been standing here for two hours, nearly two and a half.
“Their stated opening time is 11am, but they have to let the staff in before customers start entering.”
Many admitted they did not plan to buy anything but wanted to walk about again after having been cooped up in their homes since January.
A male customer said: “I’ve not been here since before Chinese New Year. I came today to have a look around.”
More shopping centres and shops are expected to reopen in the coming weeks, but so-called high risk ‘sit-down restaurants’ will remain closed as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
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