Three department stores in greater Taipei have closed for disinfection after COVID outbreaks. They are the Taipei 101 Mall and two branches of the Far Eastern Department Store, one in Taipei and another in New Taipei. All three are scheduled to reopen on Thursday, after staff is screened for COVID.

Hose in hand, the worker sprays disinfectant at the entrance to this department store. An employee here was recently diagnosed with COVID.

Lu Chung-yu

FTV reporter

An employee at Far Eastern Department Store’s Zhongshan Branch in Banqiao was diagnosed with COVID on Tuesday. The department store shut down immediately, and now, one day later, it’s getting completely disinfected.

The New Taipei government had informed the department store that a shop employee tested positive. Soon after, people in hazmat suits descended to disinfect the premises. The department store closed its doors, and an on-site rapid testing station was set up, managed by staff at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital. More than 800 people work at the department store, and they’ll all have to get tested before business can resume.

Chiu Po-yu

Far Eastern Department Store

By the end of today, we’ll have had every employee rapid tested. Our goal is to complete all that this afternoon. After that is done, we’ll disinfect the premises again. Then, the day after, in compliance with New Taipei’s requirements and if all employees clear the tests, the employees will return to work. We’ll ask them to provide proof of their negative test.

Hou Yu-ih

New Taipei mayor

The Far Eastern Department Store has to be disinfected. It has to be closed. All employees have to undergo rapid testing. If all the rapid tests come back negative, the department store will be allowed to reopen.

New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih says the department store will only be allowed to reopen if all employees test negative for COVID, in accordance with disease prevention protocols. The department store outbreak is one of three to emerge this week in greater Taipei.

The Far Eastern Department Store’s Baoqing branch in Taipei was also closed on Wednesday for disinfection after an employee tested COVID-positive.

One day earlier, the Taipei 101 Mall received notice that a shop employee on its fifth floor had been diagnosed with the disease. The mall closed for disinfection Monday evening, and the case’s five close contacts were asked to isolate at home. So far, all five are in good health. The mall is expected to reopen on Thursday, after closing for a full day on Wednesday.

In greater Taipei, restaurants have only just reopened for dining in. The latest COVID outbreaks cast doubt over the future of the reopening.