MANILA, Philippines – Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) announced on Wednesday night, March 18, that all its stores will be closed nationwide, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement, DFPC Chief Operating Officer Vicente Angala said all stores, including airport stalls and the online shop, will be closed until further notice.
“This decision has been done with a focus on the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and the local community, which is our top priority during these unprecedented times,” he said.
Angala added that they will “assess the situation accordingly on the appropriate time” to reopen the stores.
International flights into the Philippines are still allowed, but only for Filipinos, permanent residents, and diplomats. Outbound international flights, meanwhile, are only for overseas Filipino workers, balikbayans, and foreigners.
Several local governments have similarly implemented a “community quarantine,” shutting off their borders.
DFPC took a hit from the situation, as only diplomats and passengers flying to and from a foreign country can shop at Duty Free stores.
As of Wednesday, there are 202 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, 17 of whom have died.
More than 200,000 people have been infected by the disease worldwide, with more than 8,000 deaths, reported Agence France-Presse. – Rappler.com