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Coronavirus - Covid-19
No training about covid that was to be done by the 7th and no training to employee, Lupitas Mexican food, 17620 Southeast Division Street, Portland, OR, USA
2 years ago
They never wipe down any door handles my first day there, there was a 3ft long foot wide hard green and black crusted underneath the hot chocolate machines. many people come through the store and it's very unsanitary from the door handles of the front doo See Less
Interview - Mai, Restaurant Owner in Taipei, Taiwan - Live Account of the Coronavirus Situation, Taipei, Taiwan
2 years ago
Interview - Mai, Taipei Taiwan:
This is a first-hand account from a restaurant owner in Taipei Taiwan of the coronavirus situation including: how the testing process works in Taiwan, how the country dealt with the initial outbreak, and the effect it has had on the people and... See More businesses.
Hi, I'm Mai. I'm currently based in Taipei, Taiwan and I am a restaurant owner here. I own two vegan cafes here in Taipei. And it's been an interesting time with the virus coming around.
What's the current situation in Taiwan?
Actually, I'm sure, I mean it's been getting around on the news pretty steadily in the last week about Taiwan's containment and their efforts to kind of help the spread of the virus and they been doing an amazing job. For us, we've been dealing with it since January, so right when the Chinese government kind of started allowing information to get out, Taiwan was bracing from January. And they were getting ready for the lunar new year, which is a huge travel time for almost every country in Asia. They knew that it was going to be a huge potential risk with everyone traveling around, not just within Taiwan, but internationally. A lot of Taiwanese nationals work in China, so they were planning to fly back to Taiwan. We knew that there was going to be this really big first wave. And Taiwan was really ready for it and a lot of the Asian countries were really ready for it because of the SARS epidemic. They learned a lot from that previous experience and were able to leverage that for this epidemic.
Has testing been easy for people or has that been a problem for some people getting testing?
No, testing has been really great here. I think within about a month, one of the universities got the testing time down to about 15 minutes. And all the hospitals, we already have a national healthcare system. Everyone has a national health insurance card if you're working and if you pay taxes and you're registered into the system and all the hospitals are usually prepped and ready to handle a pretty large number of people. Testing was pretty swift here.
There was a second wave that happened after Taiwan initially had slowed up. How did that look and how did that impact everyone?
For the first wave coming back, they knew they kind of had to stop and contain the first wave. What they did was they stalled school, they pushed school back about three weeks college and K through 12. Everyone was kind of on an extended holiday from coming back from the Chinese new year. And then for the second wave, once it started exploding in Italy and moving over to the U S they quickly realized that international travel is going to be a huge problem. And another huge problem was because Taiwan did such a good job containing that first wave, there were still some tour groups that were still going abroad because it hadn't spread that far yet. We had some tour groups from Taiwan that went to Egypt and Greece. And so by the time they came back, they were actually carriers. And so that coupled with international travel kind of started the second wave. And that was I think about late February, early March. And so they basically put the airport on lockdown because Taipei is a huge hub. It's a huge international hub. To get into Asia, usually you come through either Japan or Taipei. And so they knew that that airport was a huge risk. But being an Island, a small Island nation, we only have two big airports and the biggest international hub is Taoyuan airport, the Taipei airport. They got a handle on that and we're just screening all the passengers that came in and getting all their information, you're asked to scan a QR code and fill out all your information so that they could track every passenger. At that point you were supposed to be self-monitoring, so no mandatory self-quarantine yet.
What does self-monitoring mean?
They have a list of things that you were supposed to be doing. You're supposed to be checking your temperature, being more aware of your respiratory system and basically checking in, that was about it.
How has it impacted people's behavior in Taiwan?
At first, it was during Chinese New Year. I remember one day I just went out and it was two days into the first reports of the Coronavirus coming into Taiwan. And mask, in Asia mask a normal thing. It's not if you're sick, if you are in a crowded space or you have allergies, it's normal to just wear a mask. No one thinks twice about it. But, I remember as a business owner, I was thinking, I should probably get some mask for my two stores. And I went out and everywhere was completely sold out. And that was when the first information about what kind of masks were needed was coming out cause people were buying all kinds of mask. People were kind of buying the respirators, the PITTA mask. And so that first wave of information was what mask you should be using, what helps, what doesn't help. Taiwan has been really good about trying to fight misinformation, The government constantly, consistently pushes out information to the public. And actually their newest campaign is with this, it's a Shiba. It's a Shiba that's telling you to not cough and wear your mask.
How has this impacted you personally?
That first few weeks when we're trying to find masks, we realize, this is going to be really serious. But the government seemed to have a handle on it because when that first mask panic buying happened, the government quickly stepped in and took mask off out of the private sector and they started rationing and only giving it to pharmacies which were covered by national health insurance. Then if you had a national health insurance card, you would go and they would scan you and then you would get a certain ration mask and then they increase production greatly. We realized that the government was going to handle this pretty well. But we started seeing the real effects of it, maybe for the second wave, the first wave we were okay. There was no social distancing or anything like that. But the second wave is when the government started pushing out no large gatherings, everyone needs to be taking their temperature. We've had to kind of put in new protocols at the restaurant. We currently hand sanitize everyone that comes in. Temperature checks are almost done at every place now. All the staff needs to be wearing masks at all times. And we've asked that anyone that's traveled internationally in the last 14 days to either stay at home or we don't allow them entry into the location. We've had to think really hard about how to make customers feel safe and guarantee my staff safety. That's been a huge, every day struggle to make sure that the staff really understands the seriousness and severity of this. And when offices went remote, that actually when it hit us the most, cause in one of our areas we have a lot of technology companies. And when they went remote we saw a huge decline in our daytime lunch customers. That was, that was a scary week. That was a really scary week.
Do you expect that restaurants and other businesses will be able to remain open for the near term?
So far there's hasn't been any talk of shutting down restaurants. Clubs have been voluntarily closing and some of the city governments have closed down and movie theaters and gyms, kind of large gathering places and the government has asked for gatherings, no larger than a hundred people. Anything above a hundred people has to be canceled. But Taiwanese people are really a little bit conservative so they are already pretty risk-averse. They are just kind of doing these social distancing, self-isolation things by themselves. A lot of communities have just decided to cancel their events, go online, make them all available online. The government hasn't had to mandate, closures. Some restaurants that are really popular have decided to do delivery only just to be on the safe side. They've taken these voluntary measures actually.
Now that you've been impacted by Coronavirus, do you have any message to people or any recommendations to people based on your experience?
I'm kind of seeing what's happening in other countries through news and my family, and hearing it from them. I think the biggest thing is the social responsibility that everyone should feel towards the greater community. Part of why Taiwan has been so successful is there is a very clear understanding that all the policies are for the greater community. You as an individual might not be necessarily affected or be in grave danger if you get the virus, but kind of there's this understanding that there are a lot of people at risk and so what you do is to keep those people protected. That's been really amazing to see. I would say the advice is to just try to think about the greater community and that your actions kind of ripple out and take care of each other. See Less
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