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Revamped Xinfadi market to reopen

  • Source : China Daily Author : Time : 08/14/2020 Editor : Wang Chenyan

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    Staff workers disinfect trucks parked at the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing, on July 7, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

     

    Xinfadi market, source of a cluster of COVID-19 infections in Beijing in June, will reopen to the public on Saturday but only as a wholesale operation, a municipal government official said on Thursday.

     

    Zhou Xinchun, deputy head of Fengtai district, where the market is located, said the authority has upgraded its operations to make all buyers, vehicles and goods traceable after it reopens to the public.

     

    "The wholesale market will not serve individual residents after its reopening, and will only serve wholesale buyers," Zhou said. "Buyers and sellers need to register before they trade in the market. All buyers and sellers have to make reservations, provide information including vehicle license plates, trading area, time and gates where their vehicles' enter before each trade."

     

    Only the vehicles of vendors and buyers will be allowed to enter the market. Anyone coming into the market must first pass a facial recognition system as well as temperature checks, according to the deputy general manager, Gu Zhaoxue. Private cars, tricycles and bikes will not be allowed to enter the market.

     

    After the market suspended operations on June 13, Fengtai examined all potential risks there to ensure it could reopen safely, officials said.

     

    New standards were put in place on disinfection, health monitoring and epidemic prevention in public bathrooms under the guidance of the district administration.

     

    The authority has also improved the environment in nearby areas by removing buildings considered to be safety risks and optimizing traffic routes.

     

    The market, founded in 1988, has expanded rapidly with the country's economic growth. It covers an area the size of 170 soccer fields, and for years has supplied more than 80 percent of the capital's agricultural produce. It became known affectionately as the capital's "giant veggie basket" and "fruit platter".

     

    The nicknames are accurate: Last year, more than 17 million metric tons of produce was traded at the market, which had a turnover of 132 billion yuan ($19 billion).

     

    Out of more than 4,600 domestic agricultural wholesale markets, Xinfadi ranked first for 17 consecutive years in trading volume and turnover.

     

    Xu Hejian, spokesman for the municipal government, said the market will be a better one after the challenging test posed by the pandemic.

     

    Although the market will stop serving individuals, a nearby convenience vegetable market of 1,000 square meters opened to public for a trial run on July 28. It has 22 stands selling vegetables, fruit, oil and eggs. Neighborhoods nearby are the main customers.

     

    Li Tingzhen, who lives near Xinfadi market, said he is now shopping at the new vegetable market, which he said is a relief after having had his usual shopping routine disrupted by Xinfadi's closure.

     

    "I used to buy meat in the market very often since I love that feeling of crowded people choosing what they need from stand to stand and chatting with familiar vendors," he said. "I don't like online shopping. It's convenient, but lacks some of the feeling that I cherish."

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