The Taipei City Government on Tuesday announced a NT$42 million (US$1.5 million) fund to help market vendors provide delivery services, as the city expects a permanent transition to a delivery economy.
Since Taiwan in May entered a partial lockdown to stymie a COVID-19 outbreak, food and grocery delivery has gone from being a niche market to a daily necessity for many residents.
At the city’s daily COVID-19 news conference, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that his administration is responsible for three things amid the pandemic: disease prevention, stimulus and transition.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
With each of these responsibilities in mind, Ko said that offering direct subsidies to uncompetitive industries is not as attractive as helping businesses transition to a post-pandemic operating model as soon as possible.
Businesses cannot expect to return to their old operating model after the pandemic, Ko said.
For instance, traditional markets, cafeterias and night markets cannot expect that customers would return as though nothing happened, willing to eat in a crowded public space, he said.
To help these businesses adapt to new consumer habits, the city government has begun a delivery service fee subsidy program, Ko said.
A total of NT$42 million has been set aside for market vendors to cover delivery platforms’ service fees, Taipei Department of Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh (林崇傑) said.
Businesses with tax registration can apply to cover half of their monthly delivery service fees up to NT$10,000, capped at a total of NT$60,000, Lin said.
Those without tax registration can apply to cover one-quarter of their fees up to NT$5,000 for up to six months, Lin added.
Stalls at 21 traditional markets and eight night markets have so far applied, with some delivery platforms offering promotions, he said, encouraging people to take advantage of the program.
Asked whether the city could further ease certain pandemic restrictions, Ko said that libraries, parks, recreational equipment and other facilities would gradually reopen if case numbers continue to fall and the outbreak is brought under control.
Gradual reopening is necessary to identify and control problems as soon as they arise, he added.
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