For some residents, it was another exasperating fumble by Wuhan officials who many believe have mishandled the epidemic. But most seemed to accept the restrictions with the same stoicism that many have shown since the city imposed bans on leaving for all but a select few.
On Sunday morning, many groceries in Wuhan were crowded with residents stocking up, especially on fresh vegetables, fruit and meat, in case even tighter rules might be announced that impeded food supplies or that deterred them from leaving home.
“Because it’s the New Year, a lot of stores close anyway, and now we have the disease and now this,” said Ai Wenjun, who had lined up to pay for a basket of turnips, cabbage and beans. “Each extra thing makes me worry more.”
So far, shops still have supplies, though some residents said prices had risen despite government warnings to keep them steady.
“If we can’t bring in produce, it will become more expensive, or we might even have to close up,” said Zuo Qichao, who was selling piles of cucumbers, turnips and tomatoes. As he spoke, a woman accused him of unfairly raising the turnips’ price.
“Every county, every village around here is now putting up barriers, worried about that disease,” Mr. Zuo said. “Even if the government says it wants food guaranteed, it won’t be easy — all those road checks.”
For now, the Wuhan city authorities have the benefit of a population willing to endure restrictions to slow the epidemic. But that mood could shift if the measures hamper food supplies and worsen medical shortages.