The Executive Yuan is mulling additional coupons to revitalize sectors hit by COVID-19 that do not require people to stay at a hotel or bed-and-breakfast (B&B) before they can use the coupons, and the budget for the coupons would exceed the NT$2.3 billion (US$76.29 million) already earmarked, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had budgeted NT$2 billion for the coupons, which was raised to NT$2.3 billion after the Ministry of Culture’s plans were included.
Under the Executive Yuan’s current plan, each Republic of China (ROC) citizen would receive NT$800 worth of coupons when they stay at a hotel or B&B, which can be used at night markets, other markets, shopping districts and cultural and art venues, Kung said.
Asked by reporters whether the government plans to issue coupons that could be used without having to present proof of a hotel stay, as previous tourism-industry booster coupons linked to hotel and B&B stays did, Kung said that the possibility was under consideration.
If additional coupons were to be introduced, the budget would exceed what has been earmarked, he said, although he declined to provide any specifics.
Asked when the coupons would be distributed, Kung said when the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) deems it suitable for people to go shopping.
Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times
Later in the day, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement that its coupons, which would have a face value of NT$200, would not be bound to hotel stays.
Its coupons would be redeemable at more than 10,000 venues, stores and performances nationwide — including movie theaters, record and bookstores, and concert venues — and when purchasing tickets via nine online ticket booking services, which have teamed up with more than 6,700 local performing groups, it said.
In related news, the Executive Yuan green-lit eight sets of regulations to complement the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例), each tendered by a central government agency, as well as three accompanying regulations laid down by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The complementary rules include qualifications for businesses eligible for compensation, while the regulations set the daily compensation for people quarantined or taking care of quarantined family members at NT$1,000.
Employers who voluntarily pay workers who are quarantined or on leave to take care of a quarantined family member would receive an income tax break equivalent to twice the salary payout during the quarantine period.
People who are convicted of hoarding resources that the CECC has deemed as necessary for containing the COVID-19 outbreak or those who drive up the prices of such items could face a prison sentence of up to five years.
The health ministry on Wednesday declared N95 respirators an item necessary for COVID-19 prevention efforts, and more items could be added at the ministry’s discretion, Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan