Shenzhen  Stuff

Sometime in the past week or so, you may have gone to one of your favorite restaurants or other businesses and seen something that looked a little like police tape on the door.

Is it a crime scene? Was someone murdered here? Or maybe the health department shut them down?

No, nothing that dramatic.

You may have read about the tragic deaths of 15 workers in a Nanshan warehouse fire in late February, and the subsequent safety inspections.

So your favorite eatery was simply caught in that sweep. It's not about actual safety, though; it's about the paperwork. A bar or restaurant in Shenzhen needs somewhere between 10 and 20 licenses to operate; unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any comprehensive list telling what these are. So unless he or she hires a consultant, a new business owner is likely to miss one (or more).

After the fire, local inspectors became very "helpful" in figuring out who needed which license, and shut them down until the correct licenses could be obtained (in some cases, on Friday, and the offices wouldn't be opened until Monday).

My point? Please don't hesitate to return to your favorite joint now that it's open again. There were no structural members or fire exits or health practices missing: just a document or two.

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