In our special series to close out 2020 and welcome in the New Year, we focus on the heroes and heroines who stood up as a global pandemic raged and ensured that airport, travel retail store and restaurant environments were safe and hygienic, that shelves were stocked and that customers – though few in number – could still enjoy a reassuring shopping, dining or general airport experience.

With the assistance and input of our industry partners, we present the stories of some of those individuals and teams who ensured that a pulse still beat through travel retail this year. As reported in The Moodie Davitt eZine, we salute these front line workers as our People of the Year, with our online coverage building on the pictorial in our year-end edition.

Here, our popular series switches to Taipei, where the staff of the nation’s leading travel retailer Ever Rich Duty Free, have shown their versatility, with many unsung heroes emerging on the front line.

New purpose: Ever Rich staff repack masks for individual sale to air passengers 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit early this year, Taipei-based travel retailer Ever Rich has adapted its operations in line with the measures prescribed by Taiwan Centers of Disease Control (CDC) aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

Front line members of the Ever Rich team were deployed to assist passengers from a central service point with shopping and the placing of food orders from restaurants at Taoyuan International Airport

In doing so, its versatile employees have adapted their roles to provide the best – and safest – service to passengers through airports including Taoyuan International, where transit travellers returned in June.

On a not-for-profit basis, Ever Rich – which said its mission is to make passengers feel safe in Taiwan – immediately sourced, packed and sold masks to passengers at the airport upon arrival.

Safe and convenient: Ever Rich staff sell food, drinks and other items with a trolley service at the gate

In lines with the CDC’s measures, Ever Rich has helped to minimise the risk of infection in a variety of ways during passengers’ three to four hours waiting time.

This included the staff that previously served at Ever Rich’s pre-order pick up counter now transforming into the concierge team for transit passengers at the gates of Taoyuan. As well as selling bakery items and drinks via trolleys in full PPE uniform, they helped travelling consumers to order food from airport restaurants and provided a one-to-one shopping service. In the last quarter of 2020, the team was serving more than 5,000 passengers each month on average in this way.

Ever Rich ensures plentiful supplies of masks are available to passengers arriving at Taoyuan Airport