The Taipei City Government yesterday encouraged people to buy from the city’s sheltered workshops, which have suffered significant revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support people with disabilities.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) told a news conference at Taipei City Hall that there are 43 sheltered workshops in the city employing about 600 people with disabilities, the most among the nation’s cities and counties, adding that the workshops provide a safe environment for them to learn job skills and become self-reliant.
The Taipei Department of Labor said that as the pandemic has changed many people’s lifestyles, such as staying at home rather than eating out or going shopping, sales at the workshops’ gas stations, souvenir shops and bakeries have dropped over the past few months.
Photo: Shen Pei-yao, Taipei Times
As many people have postponed their weddings due to the pandemic, there were fewer orders for wedding cake gift boxes from the bakeries, while an increase in teleconferencing instead of holding meetings has resulted in fewer orders for lunchboxes, Huang said, adding that sales at 13 workshops dropped by more than 20 percent.
As several workshops are in hospitals, tightened controls on visitors over the past few months have dealt them a huge blow, the department said, adding that workshops’ revenue from January to March fell NT$8.92 million (US$297,036) from the same period last year.
As no new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Taiwan in the past several days, the department urged residents and businesses to support workers at sheltered workshops by purchasing their services or products.
The workshops now have two promotional vehicles to take products to businesses for workers to make purchases, it said.
To celebrate 45 days of no new domestic COVID-19 cases, the workshops displayed lemon cakes — a play on the Chinese homophones lemon (檸) and zero (零) — at the news conference.
The workshops’ products can be customized to meet customers’ needs, Huang said, adding that companies or people interested in the products can call the city’s 1999 hotline or find contact information on the department’s Web site.
“It is more important to show people with disabilities respect than to give them subsidies, as many of them hope to earn money on their own... They need the happiness and dignity of working,” she said.
Huang said that she always buys birthday cakes from the workshops, as the sales not only support their workers, but are also an expression of recognition that helps them feel honored.
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