Lai Linyuan, who runs a breakfast shop in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has been busy making steamed stuffed buns each morning for the past week.
The buns were mostly ordered by anti-pandemic workers at a nearby residential community following a visit by local officials to Lai's shop, shortly after he replied online to an article posted on the official WeChat account of the Shenzhen health authority.
"The business was once severely affected by the latest COVID-19 outbreak," he said in the message, adding that he depended heavily on the shop to make a living for his family.
Chaguang village, where Lai lives, was placed under closed management after the city began a seven-day suspension of all buses and metro services and a lockdown of all its communities, villages and industrial zones on March 14.
Shenzhen reported 18 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, of which five were asymptomatic carriers, according to the local health authority.
"I could not go outside and run my breakfast business," Lai said. His shop is located in the nearby Shuguang community.
After he posted the message at midnight on March 14, Lai received a telephone call from workers at the Xili subdistrict community station.
"We told him he could continue to run the restaurant business in accordance with control and prevention regulations," said Liao Zhikang, Party chief of the Shuguang community.
Lai later obtained a certificate, which allowed him to reopen the shop with assistance from workers at the community station.
Like Lai's shop, many businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises in Shenzhen, had limitations placed on their business operations last week due to tightened control and prevention measures against the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
In response, the city government vowed to increase relief efforts to market players, especially SMEs, by formulating and introducing policies and measures to help them solve business difficulties.
"We will accurately collect demands from enterprises, working all out to help them to maintain stable business operations by introducing tailored solutions," said Qin Weizhong, mayor of Shenzhen.
Qin made the remarks during an investigation of anti-pandemic work and industrial and supply chains in the city's Bao'an district on Monday.
"Coordinated operation of the whole industrial and supply chain will be ensured to keep the economy running within a reasonable range," he said.
A task force has been formed by the city's epidemic prevention and control command office to maintain the normal operation of industrial and supply chains and facilitate the solving of enterprises' problems, said He Zhimei, deputy head of Shenzhen's industry and information technology bureau.
He said the bureau has launched 70 types of free online software to facilitate remote work and has learned about companies' difficulties so that it can implement better solutions.
The bureau said it will speed up the implementation of policies that support companies to expand manufacturing and improve efficiency and help qualified enterprises receive related subsidies as soon as possible.
With the bureau's online one-stop service platform, technologically advanced SMEs can receive instant subsidies from the government more easily, according to the bureau.
The platform boasts over 1.45 million enterprise users and has published over 1,800 funding items, He said.
The city's Futian district will give particular attention to sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, including catering, culture and tourism, and construction, and lend special support to the cross-border transportation sector that is tasked with providing supplies to Hong Kong.
Eligible catering companies can receive subsidies of up to 2 million yuan ($320,000) to resume operations as required or open new outlets in the district, while companies engaged in cross-border logistics are eligible for subsidies of up to 1 million yuan.