Hotels in Beijing banned from hosting weddings and banquets as city tightens Covid controls

Hotels in Beijing banned from hosting weddings and banquets as city tightens Covid controls

Security guards check the health code app of people entering a business area in Bejing on Thursday before office hours. (Reuters photo)

HONG KONG: Beijing has announced a citywide ban on hotels hosting weddings as well as other events such as group banquets amid a small surge in Covid-19 cases in other parts of the country.

Although the Chinese capital has only seen a tiny handful of cases in recent weeks, the authorities issued a new version of its epidemic prevention and control guidelines for hotels on Tuesday, which tightened control of gatherings.

Hotels in the city are also required to restrict activities such as meetings, conferences and training sessions, while those in the “core area” are banned from holding them altogether.

These guidelines also impose restrictions on people attending the events.

People who come from a district or county which has seen a Covid case within the past seven days or who have entered the country from areas other than Macau within the past 10 days are not allowed to attend events in hotels.

When the hotel hosts an event with people coming from outside Beijing, the people will be subject to a closed loop system.

Some social media users in China have expressed dissatisfaction and concern with the policy.

“My brother’s wedding was postponed from winter to summer. Why is it so hard to have a wedding in Beijing?” wrote one user on Weibo.

“Not allowing a hotel to hold banquets is the same as not allowing dine-in or business operations. The development of the restaurant industry is too difficult,” another said.

Currently, the discussions with hash tags about the policy have been banned from display on Weibo.

The number of cases in Beijing remains low. On Monday, an international flight crew member and his wife tested positive, breaking the capital’s seven-day run of no new cases. The following day another positive was recorded.

The capital remains on high alert ahead of the Communist Party congress later this year, which will bring a major shake-up of the top leadership.

The Chinese mainland reported 935 local cases, including 827 asymptomatic infections, for Tuesday across 10 provinces.

Most cases are concentrated in Guangxi and Gansu.

Guangxi region in southern China reported 277 infections for Tuesday.

Beihai, a popular tourist city in Guangxi, has recorded almost 1,000 positive cases in total over the last eight days.

Gansu province in northwest China has also reported more than 1,300 cases in the last 12 days and has the highest number of medium and high-risk areas in the country.

In recent months, more infectious Omicron BA.5 strains have been detected in many parts of China, including Beijing and Shanghai.