With just over a month to go until Spring Festival, a number of cities in Zhejiang province have rolled out measures to encourage nonlocal workers to stay put and maintain production in their respective industries as the nation's economy continues to pick up.
Starting on Jan 22, 2023, consumption vouchers, free movie tickets and free tickets to cultural and tourist attractions will be distributed to nonlocal workers and their family members who choose to remain in Shaoxing for the Chinese New Year celebration, the city's authorities announced at a recent news conference.
Shaoxing was among the first to announce such measures to stimulate a steady recovery in fields such as consumption, cultural tourism and foreign trade exports that have been affected by the pandemic, and to stabilize the output of its manufacturing sector.
"From January to October this year, Shaoxing's total import and export volume increased by 28.56 percent year-on-year. However, the fourth quarter has seen insufficient orders due to many factors such as the resurgence of the pandemic and global inflation," Jin Ligeng, director of the city's commerce bureau, said at the news conference.
Since China began optimizing its COVID-19 policies earlier this month, Zhejiang has taken the lead in boosting orders for local companies by organizing overseas trips for business delegations and implementing preferential measures such as deferring social security payments.
For example, Jin pointed out that chartered flights have been arranged for companies from Shaoxing to participate in this week's China Homelife Dubai 2022, one of the largest sourcing platforms for Chinese products in the Middle East, to expand overseas markets.
It is estimated that 86.5 percent of enterprises in Shaoxing will maintain regular production during Spring Festival, according to local media.
In addition, Yiwu, China's small commodity hub, has introduced 10 measures to encourage workers to stay put in the city during Spring Festival to help stabilize its industrial and supply chains.
The various incentives include a 500-yuan ($78) bonus for nonlocal employees who pay basic pension insurance in the city and continue to work during Spring Festival. If family members of these employees visit Yiwu during the time, each household will get an additional bonus of 1,000 yuan. In addition, all parking lots and public buses in the city will be free of charge.
In addition to the benefits offered to workers in Yiwu, employers in the city are also being given incentives. For major industrial enterprises continuing production during Spring Festival, an allowance of 100,000 yuan will be given to those reaching an operating income of 10 million yuan during the first quarter of 2023.
Similar measures have also been introduced in Taizhou. For instance, the city's Huangyan district is offering enterprises a subsidy of up to 100,000 yuan to rent buses to transport nonlocal employees to work in the district between New Year and Spring Festival, said an official announcement.
Meanwhile, experts have warned of the increased risk of COVID-19 spreading during holiday-related travel in the next month.
As people will visit relatives and friends during the period, it is still necessary to take precautions, especially by wearing masks and disinfecting hands, Sheng Jifang, an infectious disease specialist, said at a news conference in Hangzhou on Thursday.
Sheng suggested using private cars when traveling, while those taking public transportation must wear a mask and practice social distancing.