February 12, 2020 / 11:59 AM / 8 days ago

Beijing bun shop uses wooden board to slide food to customers, shield staff from virus

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese steamed bun shop in Beijing is using a piece of wooden board to deliver its buns to customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The shop has set up a one-meter-long wooden board running from its counter to the front railing to serve food. Staff pack the buns into plastic bags and slide them toward customers’ hands.

A notice on the shop’s front door advises customers to scan a QR code to place orders, in order to avoid direct contact with staff. For the elderly, who may not know how to use mobile payments, staff hold out a plastic box attached to a stick for them to place the cash.

The spread of coronavirus has turned many cities into ghost towns of empty streets and closed shops. But the wooden board has helped revive business, and a 10-meter-long queue of customers had formed outside of the shop.

“Good, good, it’s very good,” a retired woman named Gong Xuan said of the makeshift purchasing system.

China reported on Wednesday the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since late January, lending weight to a prediction by a senior medical adviser that the outbreak could end by April.

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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