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Taiwan CECC recommends recorded mask reminders after deadly assault

CECC suggests mask reminders on entrances, recorded broadcasts for convenience store clerk safety

Chiang being escorted by police after allegedly stabbing clerk to death. (Photo from member of public)

Chiang being escorted by police after allegedly stabbing clerk to death. (Photo from member of public)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Nov. 22) suggested that convenience store clerks switch to indirect reminders that customers wear masks after a deadly stabbing in a 7-Eleven over the weekend.

On Sunday (Nov. 21), a 7-Eleven convenience store clerk in Taoyuan’s Guishan District requested that the suspect, surnamed Chiang (蔣), wear a face mask, prompting Chiang to angrily storm out of the store. Chiang returned wearing a mask, but threw it at the clerk as he left, before returning a third time and fatally stabbing the clerk to death with a knife.

On Monday (Nov. 22), the convenience store chain Hi-Life announced that it would no longer require its employees to remind customers to wear masks or take action to make them do so. On Oct. 20, an irate man threw punches at both a customer and clerk inside a Hi-Life in Taoyuan City's Zhongli District after he was asked to wear a mask.

In the wake of Sunday's attack, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) on Monday thanked the convenience stores and "frontline personnel" working in them for their contributions to epidemic prevention and called on store employees to prioritize their own safety and discontinue verbal reminders, relying on notices and broadcast messages instead. Chuang then recommended two methods to reduce conflict between employees and customers.

First, he suggested placing notices on the outside of the front entrance to convenience stores admonishing the public to always wear masks when entering. Second, Chuang recommended store clerks play recorded messages to remind customers to wear a mask, rather than confronting them face-to-face.

Chuang added that if the customers continue to fail to wear masks despite the notices and broadcast messages, the stores can gather video footage of the violation and present it to authorities for prosecution.

FamilyMart said that in order to protect frontline workers, it will ask its store employees to not confront maskless customers. In the event of violent conflict, store employees are to be reminded that ensuring their own safety is the top priority, and the company vowed to re-examine and strengthen measures to protect the personal safety of store employees.

OK Mart pointed out that amid safety concerns at its stores, it is reevaluating standard operating procedures between police and workers and will seek to strengthen store safety. Nevertheless, it stressed that the stores must cooperate with epidemic prevention policy, publicize related measures, and adopt a policy of "polite persuasion" to convince customers to cooperate with relevant policies.