Shanghai will reopen physical stores from Monday after reporting no new Covid-19 cases outside the quarantine.
Vice Mayor Chen Tong said in a briefing on Sunday that hopping malls, department and convenience stores and supermarkets would gradually resume operations.
He said drug stores and barber shops would also be allowed to reopen, while restaurants could previously offer takeaway beyond just online options.
According to a statement by the local health authority, the city reported 1,203 local asymptomatic Covid infections and 166 local confirmed cases on Saturday, with no cases outside the isolated areas.
Officials have said zero community transmission is required for three consecutive days before restrictions can be eased.
The financial center has been closed for almost six weeks as China sticks to its Covid Zero strategy which now seeks to eliminate the virus spreading within communities.
But the prospect of a lockdown in major cities still looms large, with Beijing facing a growing list of COVID restrictions.
Once an obvious success story, China’s COVID strategy has become a liability.
The zero-tolerance approach that has kept the virus out for greater epidemics is struggling to contain the virus without more disruptive control measures in the face of more infectious variants.
The economy was hit hard in April, as authorities implemented sweeping lockdown measures to contain Covid, with manufacturing and services activity as well as export growth decelerating.
The central bank will set its medium-term loan facility rate on Monday, with some economists expecting a slight reduction.
This will be followed by retail sales, factory output, investment and employment data for April, which is also set to reflect the economic damage caused by the lockdown.
The signs of reopening will be a relief for Shanghaiites.
So far, 183 major supermarkets and 673 convenience stores in the city are open for in-person services, local commerce official Gu Jun said at Sunday’s briefing.
He said some 118,000 delivery workers are on a “whitelist” that allows them to work.
Beijing reported 41 local COVID cases for Saturday, up from 56 the day before. The city has ordered all public transport as well as car service services to be suspended in Fangshan district, where 12 infections were detected on Saturday, and residents were asked to work from home.
Officials have denied Beijing will be locked down amid growing concern the Chinese capital’s response to the continuing outbreak is about to intensify.
According to the National Health Commission, there were a total of 1,718 new local COVID cases in China on Saturday, up from 1,979 on Friday.