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pttwarrior Mar 17, 2020 10:47 AM

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on Taiwan

48-year-old Taipei hotel forced out of business by coronavirus

Stylish Leofoo Hotel to close permanently in May as epidemic hammers Taiwan’s hospitality industry

By Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/03/09 11:53

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to haunt Taiwan's tourism industry, the long-established Leofoo Hotel (六福客棧) in Taipei's Zhongshan District has become the latest victim of the outbreak and announced its permanent closure in May.

Following the Taiwan Travel Quality Assurance Association's (TQAA) prediction last week that more than 90 percent of Taiwanese travel agencies would shut down if the virus persists till December, Leofoo Hotel said Monday (March 9) that it will end operations on May 31. The 48-year-old hotel, known for its traditional Chinese style decor and convenient location, said that the land will be used for the construction of a commercial building instead.

The hotel's parent company, Leofoo Tourism Group, said it had been planning to refurbish the building and continue operations until at least 2021 but that the slow business caused by the virus has forced it to call it quits. The group expressed gratitude to its customers and emphasized that it will provide compensation to the staff, reported CNA.

Leofoo Tourism Group explained that customers who have purchased vouchers for accommodations or the buffet can ask for a full refund at the front desk. It added that after May, any unused vouchers will be treated as cash at affiliated businesses, including Courtyard by Marriott Taipei and the Leofoo Village Theme Park, reported Now News.

pttwarrior Mar 18, 2020 5:44 AM


Mar 07, 2020

Landis shuts struggling Taichung hotel

A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE: The hotel, which has had only one profitable year since it opened, would close on Monday, as it faces increasing competition and high rent

By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter

Landis Hospitality Group (麗緻餐旅集團) yesterday approved plans to close Landis Taichung Hotel (台中亞都麗緻飯店) next week, as the COVID-19 outbreak sharpens losses in an increasingly crowded market.

“As the virus outbreak is to persist for a while, the board decided it is better to shut down the Taichung property to rein in losses,” Landis Hospitality director of finance and accounting Kay Ku (古亦敏) told a news briefing at the Taipei Exchange Market.

The 13-year-old property is the first five-star hotel to exit the Taiwanese market as tourist arrivals fall and local travelers forgo gatherings over fear of the flu-like disease.

The outlet has accumulated NT$350 million (US$11.7 million) in losses as of the third quarter of last year, with slim chances of generating profit against growing competition and operation costs, the hotel and restaurant operator said.

The group — which also runs the Landis Taipei Hotel (台北亞都麗緻飯店) and has franchise relationships with four other hotels in New Taipei City, Hsinchu and Tainan — also said that high rent expenses contributed to the closure, which is to take effect on Monday.

Landis Hospitality said that it would seek arbitration if the landlord, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), claims damage beyond the premature cancelation fees stipulated in the lease. The group reportedly sought rent concessions, but to no avail.

High rent forced Westin Taipei (台北威斯汀六福皇宮) out of the market in 2018.

Despite its convenient location in central Taichung, Landis Taichung struggled in an increasingly crowded market that has been joined by the Place Taichung (台中大毅老爺行旅) and Millennium Hotels and Resorts (台中日月千禧酒店), as well as other international hotel brands that are expected to open in the area.

Landis Hospitality would help more than 200 employees find jobs at other hotels and provide full refunds for hotel and restaurant vouchers, group chairwoman Michelle Hsu (徐儷萍) said.

With a focus on business travelers, the hotel failed to turn a profit since its 2007 opening, with the exception of 2010.

Hsu said that she had tried to defend the Taichung property, which has come under criticism from the board over the years for its poor earnings.

The affiliated Pause Landis (璞石麗緻溫泉會館) in New Taipei City’s mountainous Wulai District (烏來) has halted operations from Feb. 14 to Sunday next week, as the hot-spring resort has also been hard hit by the outbreak.

Hsu did not comment on reports that Cathay Life’s affiliated hotels would seek to fill the vacancy.

The group reported NT$54.01 million in net losses for the first three quarters of last year, with the hotel wing accounting for 80.74 percent, Landis Hospitality data showed.

pttwarrior Mar 21, 2020 5:01 PM


New Taipei City to shut down sports centers, libraries amid coronavirus fears

Prominent museums will also close for 14 days starting March 20

By Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/03/19 14:11

Sports centers, museums, and libraries in New Taipei City will shut down for 14 days beginning Friday (March 20) to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜).

On Thursday (March 19), Taiwan’s total number of virus patients reached 108, including 78 imported cases and one death.

Hou made the statement at what would have been the opening of an activities center in the city’s Xinzhuang District, apologizing to staff for the unexpected cancellation of the event and for not allowing them to work, CNA reported. The new measure applies to all enclosed spaces normally open to the public and managed by the New Taipei City Government, reports said.

The list included some of the city’s most prominent museums, such as the Yingge Ceramics Museum, the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Bali District and the Wulai Atayal Museum, as well as local activity centers.

In addition, the campuses of elementary and secondary schools in New Taipei City will be closed to outsiders from Thursday (March 19) until the end of the school year. Groups sometimes rent campuses' athletic fields to hold public events, such as flea markets or concerts, but that will not be possible under the new measures.

pttwarrior Mar 21, 2020 5:08 PM


Virus Outbreak: Taipei to close centers to protect children and elderly

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government on Friday said that community care centers and parent-child centers in Taipei would be temporarily closed until the end of next month to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to elderly people and young children.

The city government decided to suspend operation of the centers at least until the end of next month to contain COVID-19, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said.

Whether to open them in April would be decided based on the spread of the virus at that time, she added.

An assessment showed that prevention resources at the city’s 477 community care centers and 13 parent-child centers might not be capable of handling the disease if it progresses, so it was decided to postpone the opening date from Tuesday to the end of next month, the Taipei Department of Social Welfare said.

The city’s Department of Transportation is to designate two taxis for transporting residents under home quarantine to hospitals for treatment, except for those with a fever or respiratory symptoms, Huang said.

People in need of the service must go to the health department and gain approval in advance, because they are not allowed to leave home when under quarantine, Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-chieg (黃世傑) said.

More than 3,000 people are under home quarantine, he added.

One person, who arrived from Hong Kong on Feb. 12, filled in a false passport number and false contact information, he said, adding that he should be under quarantine, but has gone missing.

The police are assisting the city government in finding him, he added.

Yesterday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) reiterated his opinion that the Central Epidemic Command Center should tell the public where the nation’s 24th patient — a woman in her 60s living in northern Taiwan — resides to lessen the panic.

On Friday, when Ko first expressed this opinion, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that disclosing the woman’s whereabouts “would not do much good,” as she was hospitalized the day after her emergency room visit on Jan. 29 and her activities prior to that did not fall within the virus’ incubation period.

“Local governments certainly know about confirmed cases in their administrative area, because the center’s orders and contact investigations are conducted with the assistance of local health departments,” Chen added yesterday.

If local governments know the details, making them public would only cause more panic, he added.

Yesterday, Ko said that he does not know the details.

“Isn’t it because China keeps hiding things from the public that it is in its current situation?” Ko said. “Sometimes I think that Taiwan and China came from the ‘same sauce tank’ — these people think the same way.”

While people sometimes react irrationally, Taiwan is a relatively mature democratic society, so even if being transparent and open causes panic, not letting the public know might cause people to panic more, Ko added.

pttwarrior Mar 23, 2020 10:00 AM


Virus Outbreak: Senior-high school first to close due to virus

By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter

Mar 20, 2020

A senior-high school in northern Taiwan is to become the first school in the nation to suspend all classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic after two students were confirmed to have contracted the disease, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday.

Classes are to be suspended from today through Friday next week, Pan said at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily media briefing in Taipei.

Students would not return to the school until March 30, the center said.

The school’s second case of the coronavirus — and the nation’s 103rd — was reported yesterday.

He is a classmate of the nation’s 59th case, who returned to Taiwan on March 5 after visiting Greece with his family from January, the center said.

The two students’ classes were suspended after the first case was confirmed, the Ministry of Education said.

The school, the local education department and the ministry began to “prepare for the worst” after the initial class suspension, Pan said, adding that preparations included ensuring that distance learning could be carried out.

The ministry also sent the school 10 thermometers and 10,000 masks after the first case was reported, he said.

Classes at the school are to be moved online following its closure, he added.

The school has 1,650 students, and 154 faculty and staff, the ministry said.

During the closure, administrative staff at the school would still be required to go to work, with the exception of those who needed to be quarantined due to contact with a confirmed case, Pan said.

Guidelines released by the ministry last month say that a class would be suspended for 14 days if one student or teacher in the class contracts the virus.

If two or more students or teachers at a school contract the virus, all classes at the school would be suspended for 14 days, they say.

The center said that it was counting the school’s quarantine period as having started on Friday last week, as that was the last day that both students had contact with other students and teachers at the school.

pttwarrior Mar 26, 2020 2:31 PM


Virus Outbreak: Fewer travelers at Taoyuan airport than during SARS

Staff writer, with CNA

Mar 23, 2020

The number of passengers passing through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Saturday fell below the daily average during the height of the SARS epidemic in 2003, the National Immigration Agency said yesterday.

Only about 7,800 people traveled through the nation’s main international gateway, about 1,700 passengers fewer than the 9,500 who used the airport a day earlier.

That daily traffic was well below the 9,300 passengers handled on average by the airport in May 2003 at the height of the SARS epidemic, when economic activity in Taiwan and in the region ground to a halt, NIA statistics showed.
Passengers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday wear protective suits, masks and goggles.
Photo: CNA

Passenger numbers at Taoyuan airport have been falling since Taiwan and governments worldwide began imposing travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Saturday’s passenger traffic at Taoyuan airport was far below the average daily traffic of 133,300 passengers in January — which was nearly identical to last year’s average of 133,400 passengers — and an estimated 70,000 passengers per day last month.

Because of declining demand, airlines have been cutting capacity, and yesterday, about three-quarters of scheduled arrivals and departures at Taoyuan airport were canceled, leaving only about 160 flights operating, the airport’s Web site said.

pttwarrior Apr 3, 2020 5:28 AM

Taipei's Shilin night market is down, more than 80 stores are for rent
士林夜市倒店潮 超過80店面待租

Video Link


pttwarrior Apr 3, 2020 7:51 AM

More than 10 shops in Taipei's Yongkang Street closed
疫情衝擊觀光客不來 台北永康街10間店關門

Video Link


pttwarrior Apr 3, 2020 4:05 PM

Taipei's Ximending shopping district to shut down many stores during coronavirus crisis

西門町等嘸觀光客 伴手禮店爆退租潮-民視新聞

Video Link


潮牌STAGE西門店 4月吹熄燈號
Video Link


pttwarrior Apr 7, 2020 3:31 PM

Latest map of coronavirus cases in Taiwan

Only five counties of Taiwan have been spared from the Wuhan coronavirus

By Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/04/07 17:06

Taiwan News — Taipei City and New Taipei City together accounted for more than half of the 373 confirmed Wuhan coronavirus cases in Taiwan as of Monday (April 6), according to the latest geographical distribution of the infections.

The map did not count the three new cases reported Tuesday (April 7), which brought the total to 376.

Out of the 22 administrative divisions of Taiwan, Taipei took the lead with 107 cases, followed by 85 cases in New Taipei. The two cities reported a combined total of 192 infections, or 51 percent of total cases.

The eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung join outlying Penghu County, Kinmen County, and Lienchiang County, as the five remaining divisions that have zero recorded cases of the coronavirus.

The numbers of coronavirus infections in other cities and counties are as follows: Taoyuan City (39), Taichung City (37), Kaohsiung City (27), Changhua County (18), Tainan City (14), Hsinchu City (11), Pingtung County (7), Keelung (6), Hsinchu County (6), Yunlin County (4), Chiayi City (3), Miaoli County (3), Yilan County (2), Nantou County (2), and Chiayi County (2).

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), 324 of the 376 confirmed cases have been imported. Taiwan has so far managed to prevent a large scale community outbreak, with Taipei and New Taipei among the cities taking strict measures to stem the virus from spreading.

Such precautions include wearing face masks on public transportation and social distancing.

pttwarrior Apr 7, 2020 4:46 PM

Kaohsiung reported zero indigenous cases of coronavirus till now!

Kaohsiung remains the only city with zero cases out of the six special municipalities, and can be said to be the safest city in Taiwan

Kaohsiung's coronavirus response is among the best globally



該網友提到,日前在高雄爆發的金芭黎舞廳事件,左營區1名50多歲台商在1月21日從武漢返台後,出現發燒及上呼吸道症狀,不過卻隱瞞旅遊史到處趴趴走,甚至跑到金芭黎舞廳,之後不但確診新冠肺炎,還被高雄市衛生局依法開罰30萬元。該網友驚呼,「有這麼大的事件還可以壓在0,oh my god!真的太猛。」

pttwarrior Apr 13, 2020 2:16 PM

Taiwan closes all KTV bars, dance halls amid coronavirus crisis

Taiwan shutters all KTV bars, dance halls after infected Taipei hostess kept serving customers

By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/04/09 15:38

Taiwan News — All KTV bars (酒店) and dance halls (舞廳) across Taiwan were shut down on Thursday (April 9), after a Taipei KTV hostess continued to serve customers while experiencing Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

Early on Thursday morning, Liberty Times reported that case No. 379 was a hostess at a well-known KTV bar frequented by wealthy businessmen near Taipei City's red-light district of Linsen North Road. After news broke that she had continued to work after experiencing symptoms, Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) on Thursday morning told reporters KTV bars should close down or at least temporarily cease operations during the epidemic.

During a press conference that afternoon, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Deputy Commander Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) announced that in order to maintain public health, all KTV bars and dance halls will close, effective immediately. He then called on business operators to cooperate with all relevant epidemic prevention measures.

In order to prevent the spread of the epidemic, Chen called on all city and county governments across the country, as well as economic development departments, health departments, fire departments, and police departments to coordinate and ensure these businesses comply with the closure order. In addition, Chen appealed to all Taiwanese to avoid entering crowded, confined spaces and businesses prone to cluster infections, so as to reduce the odds of transmission.

Chen said there is currently no timeline for when the businesses can reopen. He said the CECC had always been concerned about the possibility of the disease spreading in these venues and asked local authorities for assistance in persuading them to temporarily shut down.

However, he noticed that over the past couple of weeks many such businesses have opened up again. Therefore, the CECC needs to order a full closure of all such establishments, said Chen.

The deputy commander said that for the time being, night clubs and bars will be allowed to stay open, as long as they observe social distancing regulations. If these venues are unable to adequately enforce social distancing guidelines, he would not rule out imposing harsher restrictions.

pttwarrior Apr 17, 2020 1:07 PM

Virus Outbreak: Airport to reduce boarding gates: Lin

EFFICIENCY: With passenger traffic plunging, Taoyuan Airport is to close 20 of its 38 boarding gates from today to save on costs and facilitate renovations, the transport minister said

By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter, Tamsui District, New Taipei City

Starting today, more than half of the boarding gates at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are to be closed as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp decline in passenger traffic at the nation’s largest airport, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.

Lin spoke to reporters about the ministry’s decision after attending a ceremony in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) to mark the launch of the construction of the Tamkang Bridge (淡江大橋).

“Passenger arrivals at the airport have dropped below 1,000 per day. We have been renovating some of the airport’s facilities and would start closing some boarding gates. Passengers would enter and depart through designated gates, which will allow us to save on personnel and maintenance costs,” Lin said.
Photo: Tony Yao, Taipei Times

Airport facilities that are under renovation include runways and taxiways, as well as restrooms, ceilings and floors inside the terminals, he said, adding that closing 20 of the 38 boarding gates would quicken the pace of renovations.

Asked why the ministry did not choose to close one terminal and leave the other one open, Lin said that shutting down one terminal would prevent airport employees from accessing facilities in the closed terminal.

Airport operator Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said that it would close boarding gates A1 to A5 and B1 to B5 in Terminal One, and C6 to C10 and D6 to D10 in Terminal Two, adding that these gates are located at the far ends of the two terminals.

The remaining 18 gates would function normally, it said.

Not only would the measure meet the current demand, but it would also allow the airport company to more easily adjust usage of the boarding gates, it said, adding that it is a better cost-saving measure than shutting down one of the terminals.

pttwarrior Apr 20, 2020 7:43 AM

Virus Outbreak: Furloughed worker numbers jump over 6,000 in a week

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Apr 18, 2020

The number of furloughed employees on Wednesday jumped by 6,262 from seven days earlier, bringing the total number of workers on unpaid leave to 14,821, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the economy, the Ministry of Labor said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the number of companies that have implemented unpaid leave programs reached 588, up 220 from seven days earlier, ministry data showed.

The number of furloughed employees hit the highest level since December 2011, when 13,034 workers were on unpaid leave, while the number of employers with unpaid leave programs was the highest since September 2009, when it hit 552, the data showed.

Taipei and New Taipei City registered the highest number of furloughed workers during the week at 6,727including 4,390 employees at 162 companies in Taipei, and 2,337 workers at 137 firms in New Taipei City.

Tainan reported 1,537 furloughed workers at 50 companies, while Taoyuan registered 1,054 at 40 firms, Kaohsiung 783 at 45 enterprises and Taichung 444 at 21, the data showed.

The manufacturing industry registered the highest number of furloughed workers at 4,874, followed by the hospitality and food and beverage industry at 4,495, and 2,101 in the wholesale and retail sector.

The number of furloughed workers in Hsinchu Science Park, one of the nation’s most important tech production hubs, rose to 704 in the week as of Wednesday, about 10 times that from a week earlier.

The latest figures showed that the pandemic has begun affecting supply chains and disrupting manufacturing operations, Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment Deputy Director Huang Wei-chen (黃維琛) said.

The ministry this month started releasing weekly data on the number of furloughed workers instead of biweekly to better reflect the real workplace situation and to quickly identify people in need, Huang added.

Most of the companies implementing unpaid leave are small enterprises that employ fewer than 50 people, the ministry said.

Unpaid leave programs typically last for fewer than three months, with employees taking five to eight days off per month, it said.

pttwarrior Apr 24, 2020 3:45 PM

Virus Outbreak: Dynasty Theater to temporarily close as customers dwindle

By Tsai Ya-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Apr 24, 2020

With fewer than 100 customers per day, Dynasty Theater in Taipei yesterday announced that it would be closing for three months starting on May 4.

The theater playing second-run films near the Minquan W Road MRT Station is to undergo renovations in hopes of providing better services when it reopens in three to four months, it said in a notice on its Web site.

Dynasty has seen its viewership decline 80 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic, said the theater manager, surnamed Hsu (許).
The entrance to Dynasty Theater, a second-run moviehouse on Taipei’s Minquan W Road, is pictured yesterday.
Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times

Its equipment is aging since its first renovation eight years ago and now is a good time to refurbish its two auditoriums, Hsu said.

An employee working at the theater said on condition of anonymity that it was difficult for the theater to hold out as long as it did with fewer than 100 customers per day.

Customers can return pre-bought tickets at the counter if they do not want wait until the renovations are completed, Hsu said.

The theater would apply with the Taipei City Government for subsidies to pay its employees, allowing them to retain their job and return to work immediately upon completion of the renovation, Hsu said.

Another theater employee said that while she supported the decision, the theater had not clearly thought out plans for its employees during the three-month hiatus, adding that she would be forced to look for another job.

Taipei Department of Labor section head Shih Chen-su (施貞夙) said that companies are obligated to inform employees ahead of time if they plan to close temporarily, sell the business or downsize.

This concerns severance fees and what arrangements the company has made for laid-off employees, Shih said.

By law, companies must also inform the department within 10 days of its decision, but the department has yet to receive any notice from Dynasty Theater, Shih said.

The department will look into the matter to understand where the company is in terms of operational management, as well as what arrangements it has made for its employees, Shih said.

pttwarrior Apr 24, 2020 3:57 PM

New Taipei government holds simulation of 21-day lockdown

Mayor Hou Yu-ih prepares for potential lockdown in case Taiwan’s pandemic worsens

By Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/04/20 15:18

As New Taipei city continues to add more coronavirus-infected patients, the city government on Monday (April 20) launched a simulation of a 21-day lockdown to prepare for the potential worsening of the country's pandemic.

Following Mayor Hou You-yi's (侯友宜) order to shut down all sports centers, museums, and libraries in New Taipei on March 20, the city officials on Monday engaged in a simulated lockdown exercise and evaluated the most effective ways to carry out school cancellation and distribution of medical resources. The exercise was believed to be a response to Taiwan's recent Navy vessel cases confirmed over the weekend, according to UDN.

Hou said that the city government is planning to implement a 21-day lockdown and ban all non-essential movement for its citizens once the risk of community clusters becomes too high. He explained that the 21 days will consist of a 14-day coronavirus incubation period and an additional 7 days for the virus carriers to recover.

In the case of a lockdown, the New Taipei mayor noted that a principle of "low activity, high activity control" would be followed. He pointed out that only frontline medical workers, essential government employees, and individuals carrying travel permits issued by the government would be allowed to leave their houses.

Hou said he has discussed the lockdown plan with mayors from other cities and said that it is crucial for all local governments to join together if the worst-case scenario happens. However, he said the decision for a lockdown would have to be approved by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) first, according to Liberty Times.

At a press interview following the lockdown simulation, the CECC's advisory specialist panel convener, Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), gave positive feedback to New Taipei's advanced planning. He stressed that it is unlikely that life in Taiwan will return to normal until a vaccine is developed, and he hopes the Taiwanese can continue to endure the inconvenience for the country's safety, reported CNA.

As of Monday afternoon, New Taipei has recorded 90 coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, Taipei has confirmed 115 infections and Kaohsiung and Taichung have 39 and 40, respectively.

pttwarrior Apr 29, 2020 9:37 AM

Taipei restaurant refuses foreigners out of fear of coronavirus

Restaurant only allows foreigners to order take out due to coronavirus fears

By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/04/28 15:45

Foreign residents in Taiwan have been angered by the appearance of a sign at a Taipei restaurant that only allows foreigners to order takeout, while Taiwanese are allowed to dine inside.

On Monday (April 27), a member of the Facebook group Foreigners Society in Taiwan shared a photo of a discriminatory sign posted at an Italian restaurant and cat cafe in Taipei's Xinyi District. The sign states that due to the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), foreigners are only allowed to order food to go, while "locals" are allowed to enter on the condition that they wear face masks.

The person who posted the image said that the photo had been taken by a friend when they visited the restaurant on Sunday (April 26). He said he was so upset by the restaurant's discriminatory policy that he threatened to call the police.

The staff then called the eatery's owner, who talked to the man and eventually allowed him to enter. The man who uploaded the photo described the sign as "absolutely wrong, ignorant, xenophobic."

The man then reasoned that all of humanity is at risk during the coronavirus crisis, foreign and Taiwanese alike. He argued that everyone should wear a mask and order takeout and that if the restaurant was really so concerned about the safety of its workers, it should shut down.

When asked for an explanation for the sign by Taiwan News, the restaurant claimed it had been created weeks ago because some customers from abroad had allegedly recently returned from overseas without staying under quarantine for the full 14 days as required. It stated that it posted the notice in response.

The restaurant wrote that the sign had been meant to enforce "strict rules" to "protect public health," but it acknowledged it had been made without careful consideration and used a poor choice of English words, causing "foreign friends to misunderstand." The management then wrote that it has removed the announcement and again apologized to "everyone."

That same day, the restaurant posted an apology on its Facebook page, receiving a mixed reaction from followers. One person alleged that the policy was racist and ineffective, as many Taiwanese and other Asians who had recently traveled abroad would be allowed in.

Another person pointed out that the majority of the imported cases in Taiwan are actually Taiwanese citizens returning from countries hard-hit by the pandemic. Yet another said the restaurant's excuse of "bad English" was just an excuse to cover up its racist policy.

Some accepted the explanation, with one person thanking them for their apology and saying that they planned on visiting their store. Another called on the public to give them another chance given the "extreme period" that people are living in.

Although cases of discrimination have been far fewer and less extreme than has been seen in recent weeks in China, such as forced evictions and unwarranted quarantines of African residents in Guangzhou, there have been a few other incidents of discriminatory policies at restaurants, bars, and Airbnb rentals reported in Taiwan.

The majority of these establishments have changed their policies and apologized after receiving complaints from the foreign community, but some have stubbornly refused to end discriminatory policies, such as this Yakiniku restaurant and this Bistro, both of which still require foreigners to present their passports with the most recent entry stamp clearly visible.

If a foreigner encounters discrimination by a business in Taipei, they can file a report with Taipei Urbanism or petition the Taipei City Government. As for incidents outside of Taipei, it is advisable to contact local government authorities or email the Cabinet.


pttwarrior Apr 29, 2020 5:43 PM

Taipei Financial Center credit outlook downgraded

TAIPEI 101: While rental income is robust, the skyscraper has been affected by falling foreign and domestic visitor numbers because of the pandemic, Taiwan Ratings said

By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter
Apr 25, 2020

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) has downgraded the credit outlook for Taipei Financial Center Corp (台北金融大樓) from “stable” to “negative,” as the operator of the Taipei 101 skyscraper has seen a slump in tourists and shoppers.

The local arm of S&P Global Ratings said the negative outlook reflects the likely deterioration in the company’s credit profile this year and uncertainty over a recovery.

A dire lack of foreign tourists would diminish revenue from its observatory and tourist spending at its shopping mall, the agency said.

The number of foreign visitors dropped close to zero over the past few weeks due to border controls and flight bans to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We expect international travel to remain muted for six more months, as the number of infections is still on the rise worldwide,” Taiwan Ratings said, expecting a modest recovery toward the end of the year.

That might affect the number of visitors to the observatory and the observation deck’s revenue this year by up to 80 percent, it said.

Local customers have also reduced shopping frequency to avoid infections, it added.

Retail sales at the Taipei 101 shopping center are forecast to drop by 31 to 35 percent given the store’s collection of luxury and fashion brands for which consumption is discretionary in nature, it said.

The office building’s rental income would not be affected by the pandemic, because rental rates are fixed and long-term in nature, it said.

In addition, the Taipei 101 building has built up a strong tenant portfolio, mostly high-profile global firms and large domestic companies that can afford above-average rents, it said.

However, office rent accounts for only 26 percent of overall operating income and would not be sufficient to compensate for the slowdown in other segments, it said.

pttwarrior May 4, 2020 2:52 PM

Taipei restaurant exposed for banning foreigners from dining in

The restaurant has apologized for the sign and its "bad English" skills

by Alex Linder

A restaurant in Taipei is being bombarded with bad reviews after barring foreigners from entry because of the coronavirus.

Wake n’ Bake, an Italian restaurant and cat cafe in Taipei’s Xinyi district, recently posted a notice on its door declaring that foreigners were only permitted to take out and not dine in.

“Due to COVID19 impact, we don’t have choice to SERVICE FOREIGNER TAKE OUT ONLY. For LOCAL. Please make sure wear mask in public area,” reads the notice.

A photo of the sheet of paper was posted to a Facebook group for foreigners in Taiwan on Monday. The uploader explained that the image had been taken by a friend during his visit to the restaurant the previous day.

The friend reportedly threatened to call the police, resulting in workers instead calling the owner and letting him talk to the angry foreigner. In the end, the owner agreed to let the foreigner eat inside the restaurant.

In response to the resulting backlash, the restaurant issued an apology on Monday, blaming some foreign customers who had visited the restaurant before their 14-day quarantine was through and the management’s “bad English” for causing the unpleasantness.

“Please accept our sincere apologies. The old announcement was only being made because of weeks ago some of our guest back from aboard and come visit without 14 days quarantined, we made a strict rules for protecting the public health without comprehensive expression and bad English. We now have removed the announcement and hope to hear if anything can help to ease bad feelings we caused from you.”

Some have accepted this apology, others have not:

“By far most of the imported cases of Covid were Taiwanese coming home, not foreigners. The fact that you just assumed otherwise says what is truly in your heart. This isn’t an apology, it’s an excuse. An excuse is not welcome.”

“It isn’t bad English, you knew exactly what you were doing when that sign was posted. As pointed out by other people the vast majority of cases have been returning Taiwanese citizens. Pretty pathetic really trying to hide behind a translation excuse, If you actually held you hands up and admitted your mistake then I would give you credit. maybe try actually apologizing next time instead of pr spin.”

“It’s bullshit, if someone who were supposed to do quarantine cane to your restaurant, the government would force you to close for a bit , as it happened to OMNI nightclub.”

The restaurant issued a second apology on Tuesday, noting that the recent barrage of bad reviews has evidently caused Facebook to suspend reviews on the page. The same thing appears to have happened with Google.

pttwarrior May 4, 2020 2:56 PM

Coronavirus: Jay Chou's restaurant in Taipei to close

MAY 4, 2020

Lim Ruey Yan

Even Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou's restaurant has not been spared by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last Friday, the Mr J French-Italian restaurant announced on Facebook that its last day of operation will be on May 31.

The restaurant, which is located on the grounds of Taipei Medical University, reminded customers that access to the campus is restricted due to the pandemic.

It said customers should inform the security guards they are going to dine there so that staff from the restaurant can go to the entrance to receive them.

The eatery opened in 2007 and was featured in the movie Secret (2007), starring Chou, Gwei Lun-mei and Anthony Wong. It was also the directorial debut of Chou, now 41.

The restaurant has many items linked to Secret, including the piano and the desk seen in the movie. It plays Chou's songs in the background and has posters of the star on the wall.

It has also become a "must-go" place for Chou's fans when they visit Taipei, as he has held celebrations there when he won awards.

The restaurant is a joint venture between the singer-actor and his friends. There was another branch in Taipei, but that one closed in 2013.

Another eatery, Mr J Fujiwara Tofu Shop, closed in 2015. It was modelled after the shop in Chou's movie Initial D (2005), a film adaptation of the Japanese manga series of the same name.

Taiwanese actor-director Peter Ho's spa Hydro Mode also announced last month that it will be closing in late June due to a huge drop in the number of customers because of the pandemic.

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