BY KEJIA JI
The COVID-19 pandemic forced cities across the globe to shut down, and while some now have control over the virus, the opening of economies is a slow process.
The city of Shenyang, China, eliminated COVID-19.
But while the threat of the virus is low, residents are hesitant to reactivate the economy.
Hailiang Li, 38, is a designated driver in Shenyang, and had to stop working for three months because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
He is now back at work but he has less clientele than he used to.
“I am glad that there are no coronavirus cases in Shenyang. So I can go back to work,” Mr Li said.
MOJO News joined Mr Li as he worked a shift in Shenyang, which is around seven hours drive north-east of Beijing.
Mr Li rides his electric bicycle to the restaurant Anhui Chamber of Commerce, where he waits for customers. He has worked as a designated driver for three years.
“People in the restaurant will hire a designated driver if they consume alcohol. I will drive their car and send them to the destination,” he said.
After arriving at the restaurant and waiting for an hour with no customers, Mr Li gets bored and sits on the rear seat of the electric bicycle.
“Fewer people eat in the restaurant because of coronavirus and I get fewer customers. I need to raise my family, but sometimes I only get two or three customers at one night. Life is hard.”
With a beep from his smartphone, Mr Li gets the call from his first customer at 7pm. The map shows the route from the restaurant to the customer’s destination.
“This job is easier for me in the summer. In the winter, it is freezing at night when I wait for customers and ride the electric bicycle back to the restaurant.”
Mr Li gets in the driver’s seat of the customer’s car after putting his electric bicycle in the trunk. He rides the electric bicycle back to the restaurant after driving for the customer.
“The biggest challenge for me is to drive various types of cars. I was nervous when I first started driving the cars of others.”
At 4am, Mr Li has finished work and returned to his home. His next duty is to go to sleep and get up to work the next day at dusk.
“I got four customers tonight, which is better than yesterday. I hope this coronavirus will pass soon and I can receive more customers like in the past.”