as beijing fights off a covid 19 lockdown enjoy the limited liberties - As Beijing fights off a Covid-19 lockdown, enjoy the limited liberties

BEIJING – Last Saturday (April 30), as I got dressed for a birthday dinner party at a new, fancy restaurant by the 750-year-old Drum Tower, I received a frantic message in a group chat of invitees that the restaurant had suddenly cancelled our booking and all the food we had ordered in advance.

This was about an hour after the Beijing government sprang a surprise announcement that all eateries in the capital city were not allowed to offer dine-in services with immediate effect – as the five-day May Day holiday began – and only takeout services were permitted.