Stores begin selling facemasks
By ICRT and ECCT staff writers
Healthcare and cosmetic chains will begin selling unrationed surgical masks this week. Prices will range from between NT$5-15.
The sale of masks at private outlets follows the government’s decision to relax its rationing system that was implemented in early February given Taiwan’s mask production shortage at the time. On 31 January, Taiwan had a total production of only about 2.7 million masks per day. Given surging demand at the start of the outbreak, the government immediately banned the export of masks, implemented a mandatory rationing scheme and coordinated a national team of government and industry players to ramp up production as fast as possible. Thanks to these efforts, whereby machinery makers were mobilised to manufacture mask-making machines, within 10 days daily production had almost tripled and, by 24 May, capacity had reached 19.87 million units per day. Since this is sufficient to meet local needs, the MOEA lifted the ban on exports on 1 June, allowing manufacturers to export excess supply.
Watsons says it will be making face masks available at all of its stores island-wide from tomorrow at the earliest, but each customer will only be allowed to buy one package or one box at a time.
Poya says it has about one million domestically made masks on order, and they're expected to arrive in stores from Thursday.
While COSMED says it expects orders of face masks to arrive on store shelves sometime this week.
Hypermart chains Carrefour and A.mart both began selling unrationed surgical face masks on Monday.
Meanwhile, convenience store chains say they will also begin selling or allowing customers to pre-order surgical masks this week. Face masks will be available at FamilyMart and Hi-Life stores from today. OK Mart says customers can pre-order masks via the Line app and pick them up from this Friday. And consumers will be able to pre-order boxes of surgical face masks at 7-ELEVEN stores until this coming Saturday.