(Yicai Global) Jan. 19 -- The small commodities capital of Yiwu and several other cities in eastern China are offering migrant workers retail coupons to encourage them not to return to their rural hometowns over the upcoming Chinese New Year break in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus after several new outbreaks were recently detected across the country.
Yiwu, Dongyang and Fenghua in eastern Zhejiang province are offering virtual and real ‘red packets,’ a traditional form of gifting money, of up to CNY500 (USD77) to employees who do not travel home for the week-long break from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17.
Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 12 this year, is an important time of family reunion in China and festivities can last for 40 days around this date.
The issuing of coupons will help stimulate spending despite the restrictions on travel which will support regional consumer markets, Liu Gongrun, assistant director of the Lujiazui Institute of International Finance at the China Europe International Business School, told Yicai Global.
Parts of the port city of Ningbo are issuing food and accommodation vouchers to encourage workers to stay in the city and to promote its catering and hospitality industries. Haiyan county in Jiaxing is also providing transportation subsidies to help the spouses, parents and children of local workers come to the city to visit.
Companies that have been hard hit by the pandemic are also in line for support to boost consumption and employment on the supply side.
Large restaurants can apply for subsidies of up to CNY100,000 (USD15,432) if they open each day over the holiday, the Yiwu government said. Smaller restaurants, convenience stores, laundries, hairdressers, auto repair shops, carwashes and courier firms can receive up to CNY10,000 in aid.
Dongyang said it will give grants to businesses that carry out project-based training over the holidays.
Editor: Kim Taylor