From commuters rushing back to the office right after anti-epidemic restrictions were lifted to the long queues in front of both street vendors and high-end luxury shops, Shanghai on Wednesday ended its two-month lockdown to embrace a brand new start in unique fashion befitting its special status as an economic powerhouse and pioneer in the country's reform and opening-up with dizzying speed and extraordinary efficiency.
The two-month dormancy of Shanghai, a city with 25 million population and as China's economic development engine, sparked wide concern that it severely battered Chinese economy. People wonder if it will still be "business as usual" even if Shanghai wakes up from the COVID-19 swoon. But it is believed that the unique vibrant spirit of the Pearl of the Orient, along with the city's century-long experience as a driver of national economy and special leading role in China's most active economic zone, will ensure the city bounces back strongly and quickly.
"It's almost a belated New Year celebration," a Shanghai resident surnamed Li posted on his WeChat, along with pictures of him watching fireworks from Shanghai's landmark tourist site the Bund.
After the Shanghai government eased COVID-19 restrictions for low-risk areas from Wednesday, most Shanghai people went outside to "get a sniff of fresh air." The city's barber shops were among the first to get their hands full. A barber in Huangpu district said he received 30 phone calls for appointments within half an hour on Wednesday.
There were long lines at most commercial areas, which resumed off-line services in recent days with a 75 percent cap on customer flow. The Global Times witnessed long lines at downtown luxury shopping mall Plaza 66. A woman was seen carrying three huge bags from French luxury brand Hermès, riding away with them hanging on her shared bike, as private vehicles are not allowed in that area.
Li Man, a Shanghai resident who walked out after 67 days, said she saw people of different colors and ages standing in front of cafés and bars, talking in different languages, and a group of middle-aged men talking about "supply chains," "financing" and "logistics." "I know the same old Shanghai is back."
Most of the city's gardens and entertainment venues are also open with a cap on numbers. However, Shanghai Disney Resort, one of the most visited tourist sites before lockdown, has not announced a reopening date.
Li Mohan, a Shanghai resident who arrived at the subway station at 7:30 am to go to work on Wednesday, found the station filled with commuters like himself. "Rushing back to work on first day after lockdown stopped? Maybe that's the Shanghai spirit."