CHINESE citizens stepped out in their numbers at the pubs over the weekend, lowering their guards on COVID-19 protocols as beer lovers dropped off their facemasks and virus worries, while raising much-missed glasses as the annual Qingdao beer festival opens.
China has largely brought the coronavirus outbreak under control through a series of lockdowns and restrictions, and the small number of cases reassured beer-lovers to turn out despite the global pandemic.
According to sources, the festival, which opened Friday and runs until late August, saw drinkers, eating and drinking together, watching shows and fireworks and sampling the more than 1,500 types of beer available.
Many revelers were walking around the enormous venue in Shandong province mask-free, with long tables packed with merry drinkers in scenes reminiscent of pre-COVID-19 days.
Local TV report says, the festival offered the much pressured Chinese to have a feel of normal life and clink glasses once again.
“It’s been half a year since I last travelled around… I feel so happy and relaxed right now,” Wang Hua, a tourist from northern Shanxi Province told the media.
Despite the frenzy, all was not thrown entirely to the mercy of the pandemic as the central “Beer City” is limited to 30 percent visitor capacity, while staff are told to wear masks with visitors temperatures and health codes well checked.
Imported beer containers are also being tested for the virus and disinfected before entering the venue, officials said, after several local clusters in China were linked to imported food.
It will be recalled that the seaside resort is the home of Tsingtao, one of the most popular beers in China and the most exported around the world.
The brewery was set up while Qingdao was under German colonial rule between 1898 and 1914.