Tips for celebrating Spring Festival in the time of coronavirus

Coronavirus has caused Wuhan to be virtually quarantined from outside transportation, disrupted people’s plans and lives, and infected over 1,200 people. But while the situation is dire in central China, people in most of the country are relatively safe.

People are still taking precautions, though. Surgical masks are sold out at some pharmacies. Some people are hosting smaller gatherings than they had anticipated. Museums and public places across the country are closed to decrease the risk of the virus spreading.

But it’s still Chinese New Year, and, although I opted against traveling further afoot to celebrate, I’m still going to observe the festival here in Nanjing. I grabbed a bottle of bai jiu and shared it with some friends I met at the hostel.

Celebrating Spring Festival in a big city is always different, because most of the residents go back to their ancestral hometown. But here are a few tips that apply both in ordinary times and now with the disease spreading:

  • Bai jiu kills viruses, don’t you know. Drink up!
  • Unless you are seasoned in the appreciation of bai jiu (producer Derek Sandhaus says you need hundreds of drinks to develop a taste), most foreigners can’t tell the difference between two different brands of bai jiu. I say, select the cheapest.
  • Lots of restaurants in cities are closed during Spring Festival, but Lanzhou beef noodle restaurants are almost always open. (As are restaurants in mass tourism districts, like Fuzimiao and Laomendong in Nanjing.)
  • Take precautions and use common sense. One local village broadcast on its loudspeakers a call encouraging residents to tell their relatives working in Wuhan to stay home. But don’t go overboard. It’s still Spring Festival, after all, and nothing you worry about is going to decrease the likelihood of you getting sick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *