TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In just one week, the number of furloughed workers in Taiwan surged by 7,507 to exceed 20,000, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said Thursday (July 8).
A total of 21,133 people have seen their hours cut, the most since the Level 3 COVID alert began in mid-May, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reported.
Of the 7,507 newly furloughed, more than 5,000 work in the hotel and restaurant sector, as indoor dining has been banned and travel has collapsed amid fears of infection.
While the Level 3 alert is to stay in place until July 26, beyond the previously issued July 12, the loosening of restrictions to allow indoor dining with social distancing will not necessarily improve the job situation, officials said. Some restaurants that rely on buffet dining have found it hard to convert to a take-out-only formula, according to the MOL.
Even though indoor dining will return after July 12, customers are expected to trickle back slowly, so employees will not be able to return to work immediately, MOL officials said, predicting gradual improvement for the sector.