Li Qunxin, who had suspended service at her small restaurant in Tianhe district in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, for a week, has happily opened her doors again.
Dine-in service at restaurants in low-risk areas in Haizhu, Liwan, Conghua, Panyu, Tianhe, Yuexiu and Huangpu districts in Guangzhou was allowed to resume starting on Wednesday or Thursday as COVID-19 controls were relaxed.
"I'm certainly happy. I have to pay the rent and workers' wages even when business is suspended," she said.
Chen Jianliang, who had lunch at Li's restaurant on Thursday, said it was good the ban had been lifted. "As long as you take care of personal protection, it's fine," he said.
Zhang Zhehao, another diner, said he was a little afraid to see many people dining together, although dine-in service is much more convenient.
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons has reopened the majority of its stores in Guangzhou for dine-in service as well.
"We see robust demand for our coffee and food. With both dine-in and take-away services, business is expected to recover very quickly," said Li Yihui, Tim Hortons' South China operations general manager.
Indoor entertainment and service venues such as cinemas, gyms and libraries in low-risk areas in some districts have also reopened.
Primary, middle schools and kindergartens in low-risk areas in Liwan district have been given the green-light to resume in-person classes.
Closed-off management measures, which were temporarily implemented across Guangzhou, were lifted on Wednesday afternoon after a decision to pursue more scientific and precise COVID-19 control measures.
Upon the lifting of the measures on Wednesday, online searches for train tickets leaving Guangzhou surged 250 percent on travel agency Qunar, with the main destinations being Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou provinces.
Tongcheng Travel, another travel portal, saw a 400 percent surge in searches for tickets for flights from Guangzhou at around 3 pm on Wednesday, compared with the volume at the same time the day before.
The latest measures from the Guangzhou authorities are in line with the 20 adjusted COVID-19 control measures issued recently by the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism. They aim to minimize the impact on risk-free people, said Cheng Chaogong, chief researcher with Tongcheng Travel.
They also retain strict management according to the country's ninth COVID-19 control protocol, which allows risk-free people to resume their normal lives and work in a safe and orderly manner.
The latest steps will have a positive impact on the orderly resumption of business and leisure travel and serve as a model for other cities, Cheng said.
Liao Caijuan and Dou Xiaomei, managers at two pharmacies in Tianhe district, have both seen an increase in customers looking for medicines for flu and respiratory symptoms as a preventive measure in the past two days.
"With this opening up, they are buying these medicines beforehand, just in case," Dou said.
Guangzhou reported 683 new local COVID-19 confirmed cases and 5,629 new local asymptomatic carriers on Wednesday.
Zhu Wenqian contributed to this story.