How Did China Return To Normal Life?
You’ve heard the story how China kept everyone in place until the numbers went sharply down. What did they do next? Once the Chinese government determined the statistics said it was safe, restrictions on travel were gradually lifted. One friend, staying with family in the countryside, couldn’t immediately return to the big city because taxis and ride sharing services hadn’t resumed yet. Train service, usually 16+ trains daily at that station, were running maybe five instead. Eventually, transportation went back to normal.

The trains were deliberately operated at 60% capacity. If a train coach has five seats, three on one side and two on the other, the seat next to you was kept empty as a form of social distancing.

People in major cities had been self-isolating. When people returned from the countryside (or abroad) they need to go through a 14-day quarantine procedure. This might involve staying in your apartment for two weeks. It might mean you stayed at a designated quarantine hotel for 14 days. I saw pictures from one of the hotels. It was as comfortable as a Marriott Courtyard. Unlike a conventional hotel, you stayed in your room for two weeks.  You either brought your food in at the start of the quarantine period or you ordered home delivery.

After 14 days, you received documentation allowing you to move around normally, go to work, shopping, etc. People in China often wear masks because of concerns about air quality, now everyone is expected to wear them. Their major concern is reintroduction of the virus through foreign travelers or Chinese citizens returning from overseas.

Your temperature is checked everywhere. You walk into a supermarket, it’s checked. They have infrared devices, similar to the Progressive “Name Your Price” tool seen on TV. They point it and get instant readings.

Life is gradually getting back to normal. Restaurants are reopening, but people are hesitant about crowded spaces. They are promoting their private dining rooms. Many Chinese restaurants have several, normally used for family or business gatherings. Shops are open, but there are no tourists, because most countries have a ban on foreign travelers. This will eventually get lifted, but it’s tough on the tourism industry. I’ve heard 98% of factories are back in production. This should solve the supply chain concern, but now exports are down because most of the world has slowed their economies to fight the virus. If stores around the world are closed, they aren’t buying product to stock their shelves.

What do our Chinese friends tell us? They are extremely concerned about our health. They don’t want us leaving the house. They want us wearing masks. It’s likely their TV news shows people buying up toilet paper in Western countries. We try posting photos when we go supermarket shopping showing lots of fresh vegetables and no huge crowds. OK, so we shop very early.

The Chinese seem to have accomplished what they did because they placed restrictions on movement, require quarantine periods for people arriving from elsewhere, certifying people’s health and gradually relaxing restrictions. It seems like we are following the same pattern.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor can be found on Amazon.

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