Beijing: With the coronavirus outbreak continuing in places such as Tianjin and Henan provinces, more provincial-level governments are encouraging people to “stay put” over the coming Spring Festival holiday to help contain the pandemic.
They are showing their goodwill by giving financial benefits and policy support to those willing to stay put over the seven-day holiday, which starts on Jan 31.
For example, Hefei, capital of Anhui province, is offering more flexible jobs for people planning to spend the holiday in the city.
The city government said it is encouraging companies to share their workers – meaning companies that face a labour shortfall over the holiday can get flexible workers from other companies.
Workers who help other companies for seven days or longer can get an allowance of 700 yuan (RM460).
Hefei will also give each migrant worker who stays put from Jan 26 to Feb 9 a “red packet” of 1,000 yuan (RM658).
Another city in the province, Wuhu, promised to give each worker who opts to stay put in the city an allowance of 200 yuan (RM131).
Foshan, Guangdong province, has prepared gift packs for residents.
The city government said in a news release on Tuesday that it will give 100,000 free tickets to attractions and 10,000 free film tickets to residents.
Free hairstyling services will be available to 10,000 people over the holiday, as well as red packets worth a total of 10 million yuan (RM6.57mil) to people staying put.
The Foshan government will organise sales events over the holiday, with over 6,000 stores projected to join in.
Li Liangxiang, a 31-year-old bank clerk in Beijing, said that he and his family plan to stay put this year while trying to persuade his parents to come to Beijing for a reunion.
“My wife works in an administrative department and we decided to follow the government’s call as we did last year,” he said.
“It’s not bad staying here to spend the holiday, at least we don’t need to catch the bullet train during the travel rush. The government has also prepared rich entertainment events for us.
“The Beijing 2022 Games will open over the holiday. It will be an unforgettable year staying in the city to witness that.”
However, Li said he still wishes to have a family reunion over the holiday, so he is making plans to invite his parents to Beijing.
“My wife is a Beijing native, so it’s OK for her to stay put,” he said.
“I cherish the traditional festival and I hope all our family members can have dinner together on Chinese New Year’s Eve.”
Early last month, the National Health Commission gave suggestions on official policies concerning staying put for the Spring Festival holiday.
Liang Wannian, head of the commission’s Covid-19 leading task force, told a news conference late last month that the government should continue strict control measures for key areas and groups of people at high risk of infection over the holiday.
The elderly, people with chronic diseases and pregnant women were not encouraged to travel during the break.
He added that a more humanistic policy should be released to ensure people have a happy and safe holiday while making pandemic prevention the priority. — China Daily/ANN