Getting Back to Work, and Miscellaneous
For my next post examining my personal experience and knowledge of what has been going on here in Beijing during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, my scope now reaches a bit further beyond my immediate 2-3 block radius. It’s a brief post compared to my others and I’ll likely find other shorter observations similar to this. First, Natalie had to make a brief trip to her company’s office building not far from our apartment. Some pictures and observations she had were interesting and may lend insights about the procedures taken in the city at large as work crawls back to normalcy. Also, I’ll include a few miscellaneous observations I had trouble fitting in elsewhere.
Keep in mind, Beijing hasn’t developed into a major hotspot like Wuhan, Northern Italy, and now New York. Even if official numbers here are reported low, it can’t be orders of magnitude larger given the actions I observe personally. However, the precautions are part of the social armor that has inhibited the attack by the viral predator. As always, my hope is that these observations provide insight into how your own unique surroundings can better cope with the spread of the insidious COVID-19 virus.
Like any other major city, many Beijingers work in high-rise office buildings. With how this virus spreads, I was worried as more of the work spaces began to be reopened and active. Natalie has put off going to work because of a lack of necessity, but intermittently does small tasks. The job is still there should she choose to return. Recently she went to visit the offices of her private dance school company nearby the location of our local mall. She returned with some interesting pictures and observations. Regardless of political or ideological considerations, it seems that many of these could be implemented in a common sense way to mitigate the economic impact while maintaining some social protection once normalcy inches back in increments.
First, of all the entrances to the building, only one is accessible. This means anybody going in or out is funneled to where the building authorities can manage traffic and ensure compliance with necessary protections and screening.
As you approach that sole entrance, taped markers on the brick pavement indicate spaces to stand during high volume time periods. When Natalie went it was during a down-time. Within the standing areas are labels with announcements and guidelines (see captions).
Upon entering the main lobby, the measures are reasonably thorough. A LCD flat-screen with an infrared temperature scanner meets entrants for a streamlined temperature check. The monitor also shows the daily information for how many people have entered the building and how any showed no fever symptoms.
If it’s the first time entering the building, you must register. This is similar to the apartment community’s registration described in my second post about my surroundings. When the QR code is scanned it allows the building authorities access to the location information displayed by your phone. This tracking will allow those building officials to immediately see problematic movement history and disallow your entry. It’s likely they have to report to local officials. In exchange, you’re entering a space where the people inside have also undergone the proper screening and tracking.
This was not included in my prior posts but should have been. This notice was posted to our door very soon after the outbreak caught on mainstream and we had begun our quarantine. As I have to register with the local police department as a foreigner, my notice was specific for foreign residents.
Local pharmacy featuring a stock of surgical masks. Disinfectant is seen just below the store clerk. It seems they’re allowing people in, unlike during the worst of the outbreak. Natalie says the prices are still inflated here for supplies. That mask availability of any kind is lacking in Western countries is an absolute travesty and officials up and down the strata should be held accountable. I’m nearing the point of sending masks back to family and friends because it’s so egregiously bad.
Outside our apartment with the crowded street parking situation. It also shows the delivery drivers. The blue is regular takeout and the pink behind him would be the grocery delivery with a larger container on his bike. In the foreground, a man with a typical pull-cart similar to our own. Those are a must-have for grocer trips in the local area. Additionally, just check out that guy’s mask. He’s not playing around.
I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of the life that is coming back here in the Beijing springtime. It’s really challenging to stay limited in going out as this time of year is so nice here. The high-water mark is hopefully not far off for Western countries and then the transition back to normalcy can begin. As it stands now, you’re not there yet. As always, count your blessings, stay safe, and pay attention to the silver linings.
March 29, 2020