Shanghai's live poultry markets began to reopen June 20, though the local government will sharply limit the trade in the wake of the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak earlier in 2013. The government plans to only allow the trade to grow to about half of its size before the outbreak because of health concerns.

Two wholesale markets and six retail markets have been given approval to reopen, according to news reports. The markets are allowed to sell live chickens, pigeons and quail, but not ducks or geese.

The government will allow more live poultry markets to open if they meet the stricter standards established in the Shanghai Live Poultry Transaction Regulation. However, authorities will limit the total number of markets to 200, the report said.

There were three live poultry wholesale markets and 461 retail markets in the city before the government shut down the trade on April 6 to prevent avian influenza from spreading.

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Under the new regulation, live chicken dealers must keep records on where they buy their poultry and how many birds they sell. They also must obtain an inspection certificate for their products.

The live poultry markets will have to shut down every year from January to April, the time of year that a bird flu outbreak is most likely to occur. The market must also close one day a week so its managers can clean and disinfect the chicken pens and the vehicles that transport the birds.

The regulation also requires the area where the chickens are sold to be separated from the rest of the market and to have its own entrance and exit. All birds must be slaughtered on the premises.

The government ultimately aims to phase out the live poultry trade and is now encouraging consumers to buy frozen chicken instead.