Duty Free Philippines closes all stores to prevent coronavirus spread

Aika Rey

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Duty Free Philippines closes all stores to prevent coronavirus spread
All Duty Free Philippines stores, including airport stalls and the online shop, are closed until further notice

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.

The announcement was made after the Philippine government placed the entire island of Luzon under total lockdown, restricting all modes of travel.

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

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.