Beijing issued its first ever red smog alert, the most serious warning level, on Monday afternoon. However, the heavy air pollution did not deter the city’s “square dancing aunties”, middle-aged and elderly women who dance in groups on public squares and in parks.
Covered in coats, boots, scarves and face masks, about two dozen “aunties” performed their moves by a road in Beijing on Monday evening, Netease News reported.
Tourists in the Chinese capital did not seem to have their mood dampened by the smog either, as some were snapped posing on Tiananmen Square looking up the sky in admiration.
Beijing residents had seen only a few days of blue sky when the red warning came, just a week after a second-level orange alert was lifted. When the Beijing Youth Daily shared a picture of “square dancing aunties” in a park last week, startled netizens said it looked like a scene from horror film Resident Evil.
This time, the smog is forecast to last until Thursday (December 10) when the alert is expected to be lifted.
Under the red smog warning, primary and middle schools will suspend classes. Employers are advised to arrange flexible working plans. And factories will be temporarily closed or have their production restricted.
Meanwhile, a special traffic control system based on licence plate numbers will be implemented. Cars with licence plates ending with an odd number will only be allowed on the roads on dates ending with an odd number, and vice versa.
Beijing has issued eight air pollution alerts this year, including two orange alerts in October and earlier this month.