new coronavirus
This photo taken on Feb. 3, 2020 shows a medical staff member (L) being disinfected by a colleague before leaving a quarantine zone converted from a hotel in Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, in China's central Hubei province. The number of total infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has passed 20,400 nationwide with 3,235 new cases confirmed, the National Health Commission said on February 4.
Jollibee closes 14 Yonghe King stores in China in response to novel coronavirus
Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( - February 4, 2020 - 6:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine fast-food operator Jollibee Foods Corp. said Tuesday it temporarily closed more than a dozen stores in Hubei, China — the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak — to help prevent the spread of infection.

As of Tuesday, a total of 427 people have been reported to have died due to the SARS-like virus, and millions are now under an effective quarantine.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, JFC said it closed 14 Yonghe King stores in Hubei province and they will remain shut as part of the Chinese government’s efforts to contain the virus.

The 14 stores represent less than 1% of JFC’s total store network and 3.6% of its business in China, the company said.

Yonghe King is JFC’s largest business in China and the first foreign brand that it acquired.

LIST: Brands operated by Jollibee Foods Corp.

In the same regulatory filing, JFC said it allowed its employees in China to work from home and provided them with protective masks so they can avoid contracting the dreaded disease.

JFC added that while it is too early to determine the impact of the virus on its operations in China, the company “remains very committed to keep building and growing profitable business in China.”

“For 2020, it plans to open more stores in China, mostly Yonghe King, in line with its goal to become a significant player in the restaurant industry in China,” JFC said.

Given China's economic heft and position in the nexus of global supply chains, the new strain of coronavirus is affecting companies from far and wide in multiple sectors.

The travel sector is most directly affected by China's decision to lock down dozens of cities and ban overseas tour groups, in a bid to contain the outbreak.

Mainland China is the second-biggest market of US coffee chain Starbucks, with more than 4,000 outlets, and half of them have been closed by the outbreak.

Fast-food giant McDonald's has closed all of its "several hundred" restaurants in Hubei, the province of Wuhan, but some 3,000 others in China remain open.

Other brands such as Pizza Hut and KFC are also suffering closures in Hubei province imposed by their Chinese parent company. — with AFP

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