Beijing orders restaurants to limit one person per table

Restaurants in Beijing, many of which have been closed for weeks due to COVID-19, have been working to get back to normal this week — but not without a few hiccups. To reduce the risk of transmission among individuals, Beijing’s health officials have ordered restaurants in the city to implement a string of preventive measures, such as allowing only one person per table.

The policy has spurred mixed reactions from internet users (in Chinese). A number of critics blasted the rule as an attack on social, communal activity. Some raised concerns that the policy would make it harder for restaurants to get back on their feet after significant financial losses caused by the epidemic. “It’s probably better for small businesses to remain closed so they don’t have to pay salaries and utilities,” another commented on the news.

The introvert-friendly policy received some positive responses, though. Advocates for eating alone said that the ban on shared meals offered a rare opportunity to destigmatize solo dining. “Now no one knows I’m eating by myself because I have no friends,” one person wrote on Weibo.

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—Jiayun Feng