As one of few spots without COVID-19 restrictions, the banks of Beijing’s Liangma River recently attracted a fair few people who gathered for picnics, music jams and more.
However, access to parts of the river banks is now restricted. Here’s all you need to know.
On the south side of the river from the east third ring road (Dong Sanhuan) to Xinyuan Lu, visitors must scan the Beijing Health Kit (北京健康宝) QR code to access the river banks. Fences have been erected at the roadside.
A fence on the south side of the river. Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian
From what we saw on Wednesday, May 18, some small gatherings were still allowed on the south side of the river.
Visitors scan the Beijing Health Kit QR code to access part of the river bank. Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian
On the north side of the river along the aforementioned section, visitors are not required to scan the Beijing Health Kit QR code to enter. Moreover, we saw people there sitting in the sun, swimming and doing other leisure activities.
However, some of the pavilions and walkways had been cordoned off.
A cordoned off pavilion on the north side of the river. Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian
We weren’t asked to show a negative nucleic acid test result, but don’t be surprised if this happens; Beijing currently requires anyone entering ‘public areas’ to show a negative result issued within 48 hours (you can do this using your Beijing Health Kit).
One other thing – you’ll have to put up with those incessant megaphone messages repeated on loop reminding you of anti-epidemic rules (I think you know what we mean).
The river banks were particularly busy on the weekend of May 14 and 15. With in-house dining still suspended in Beijing, going out to the Liangma River for a picnic, a drink, a music jam etc. was the best option for many.
At a time when Beijing is still battling an outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, authorities are clearly wary of the risks of such gatherings.
At the beginning of the outbreak, most cases were reported in Chaoyang district where most of the Liangma River is located (part of it is in Dongcheng district).
However, in recent days, focus has shifted to Fengtai and Fangshan districts in the south of the city. In Chaoyang, some residential communities have ended lockdown measures.
As Chaoyang’s situation improves, we can only hope that areas like the Liangma River will become a little less restrictive.
[Cover image via Weibo/@北京旅游]