UPDATE from yesterday

PHILIPPINES. Duty Free Philippines on Sunday (15 March) closed its Fiesta Mall and Luxe Duty Free stores in Manila, and yesterday (Tuesday 17 March) shut its Ninoy Aquino International Airport shops in the capital and all other stores and online activities nationwide to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Regent Asia duty paid stores have also been closed along with all other stores at the various airports.

As reported, the Philippines government yesterday imposed strict home quarantine measures across the main island of Luzon, home to metropolitan Manila, effectively putting half the country’s population on lockdown.

The Philippines has so far recorded 202 confirmed cases of the disease (up sharply from 140 yesterday), according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Fiestamall has closed temporarily. The downtown store caters for returning Filipinos.

“Just this afternoon, I decided to close down offices and stores starting tomorrow until further notice,” Duty Free Philippines Corporation Chief Operating Officer Vicente Pelagio A. Angala told The Moodie Davitt Report on 16 March. “With all these checkpoints and quarantine issues, employees will have a hard time going to the offices and stores. We are looking after the safety of our employees. All provincial stores will also be closed tomorrow.”

In a statement latter issued, Angala said: “Duty Free Philippines Corporation has temporarily closed its doors effective March 17, 2020 until further notice.

“This is in compliance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of “enhanced community quarantine” over the entire Luzon, including Metro Manila.

“We decided to close all downtown and airport stores nationwide, including our online store to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This decision has been done with a focus on the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and the local community, which is our top priority during these unprecedented times.

“We will assess the situation accordingly on the appropriate time to reopen our stores.”

Luxe Duty Free in Manila had been experiencing a surge in sales from Chinese customers in January. Then COVID-19 struck.