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Covid-19 Outbreak Forces Closure of Hainan Downtown Duty Free Stores

China Duty Free Group's Sanya Duty Free Complex in Hainan. CDF Group.
China Duty Free Group's Sanya Duty Free Complex in Hainan. CDF Group. (CDF Group)
By
  • Khanh Linh

The duty-free sector fears the resulting impact of a continuing outbreak of Covid-19 cases across different parts of China will impact trade in Hainan during next month’s Golden Week holiday and beyond.

All three downtown duty free stores in Sanya — the CNSC, Hainan Tourism Duty Free Shopping Complex and the CDF Mall — have been closed temporarily as of Saturday, according to the Moodie Davitt Report, with no guidance on when they might re-open. Stores in Haikou currently remain open.

On Saturday, 24 people in Hainan tested positive for Covid-19 and the stores were closed in line with local epidemic prevention and control strategies.

Jason Cao of the Chinese-language site DutyFree Expert (DFE) predicted that, based on the high infectiousness of the Omicron variant, as well as the rising trend of Covid cases in various provinces (including Hainan) and China’s pandemic control policies, the industry would face “serious challenges” for at least the next month.

“It is unlikely that the passenger flow during the May 1 Golden Week will return to the level of the same period last year,” he said.

On Mar. 3, Haitang Bay retail operations were closed after a family was diagnosed with Covid-19 in Sanya. Stores reopened five days later after the entire shopping mall was disinfected and sterilised.

Learn more:

How to Tap Luxury’s Hainan Opportunity

Even after China’s borders reopen to international travel, holiday-makers will continue flocking to the luxury resorts on this tropical island renowned for duty-free shopping and golden sand beaches.

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