- Food delivery drivers have been left homeless amid Shanghai’s strict COVID-19 lockdown.
- Drivers have been blocked from their homes, so they have to decide between shelter and income.
- Many are sleeping on the street and under bridges.
Food-delivery drivers in Shanghai are forced to be homeless as the Chinese city’s draconian lockdown means they can’t enter their homes after they leave.
Shanghai has been under strict rules for seven weeks, with residents unable to go outside of their homes until the end of the month.
Authorities eased these rules for half of the city’s residents at the end of April, but millions remain under restrictions that mean they are confined to their homes — leaving delivery drivers in high demand as residents reportedly faced shortages of food and medicine deliveries from the government.
The impact on food-delivery drivers means that many have had to sleep on the streets as they had to choose between staying home and getting no income, or going out to work and being unable to return to their homes, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Many drivers have been sleeping on streets with blankets or tents, The Journal reported.
The Shanghai-based outlet Sixth Tone reported that many drivers are living in “dire conditions” as they have been blocked from their own homes, and are sleeping on the street, under bridges, or in cars instead.
One driver told The Journal that the compound where he lives would not let him go outside for three weeks at the start of April, and when he resumed work he started living under bridges as he needed the income.
Another delivery driver told The Journal that he was living under the bridge with more than 30 other people, most of whom were also delivery drivers.
One rider who asked to be identified only by his last name, Wang, said he arrived in Shanghai on March 5 after delivering food in another city, with hopes of making more money in the financial hub.
A driver who said he was made homeless as his compound would not let him return home told the BBC: “I make deliveries all day long, then when it’s approaching midnight, I look for a place to sleep.”
Shanghai is this week moving to an even stricter COVID-19 lockdown, with The New York Times reporting that food deliveries have been suspended in some parts of the city.
The government has given food-delivery drivers exemptions to its rule banning people from going outside, but some residential buildings and compounds have stopped them returning home out of fear of spreading the virus, The Journal reported.
Shanghai’s government said it is now giving more support to delivery drivers, The Journal reported.
China has pursued a zero-COVID strategy since the beginning of the pandemic, often locking down entire cities over a few cases to try and stop its spread.
Videos of Shanghai residents protesting the city’s measures were scrubbed from social media in China, The New York Times reported.