TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Due to a severe shortage of face masks and in the wake of a new rationing system announced by the government, wholesale retailer Kuang Nan Fashion Shop (光南大批發-連鎖店) on Tuesday (Feb. 4) announced that it will be offering 500,000 free face masks at multiple branches across Taiwan by the end of the week.
As the fear of the Wuhan virus gripping Taiwan leads to panic buying, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced on Monday (Feb. 3) that it will implement a new rationing system for face masks that requires Taiwan residents to present their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards when purchasing masks at the over 6,000 drugstores and pharmacies that contract with the NHI, reported Liberty Times. In addition, consumers will be limited to only buying two masks per week (7 days).
In response, Kuang Nan on Tuesday announced on its Facebook page that it will distribute half a million face masks to a number of its stores across Taiwan to help those who have been unable to acquire an adequate amount. The masks will be available at select Kuang Nan stores on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 7 and 8) with customers limited to five masks each.
Surgical masks are in short supply in Taiwan. (Baoyuan Commune Facebook photo)
The wholesaler said that the masks will be distributed in two batches, with the first starting at 11 a.m. on Friday and the second at 11 a.m. on Saturday. However, the store advised that supplies are limited and that masks will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Kuang Nan's list of stores that will offer the free masks include branches in Keelung City, Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City, Changhua County, Changhua City, Yulin County, Chiayi City, Kaohsiung City, Pingtung County, Pingtung City, Yilan City, Hualien City, and Taitung City.