In Taiwan face masks can soon be ordered at convenience stores

People will be able to order their fortnightly quota of nine masks at Taiwan's four major convenience store chains, after the government again adjusted its mask rationing system.

Under the new program, the masks will be available for order during specified time frames in the future as announced by the government rather than on a daily basis. The first such time frame will come this week, when people can place orders using the self-service kiosks at more than 10,000 Family Mart, 7-Eleven, OK Mart, and Hi-Life convenience stores

Those placing orders will have to present their national health insurance (NHI) cards and pay for the masks with the order. They will be able to pick up their masks between April 30 and May 13 at their designated convenience store.

Consumers can also have masks delivered to PX Mart or Simple Mart for pickup, but those two supermarket chains cannot take orders because they are not equipped with the machines needed to read NHI cards, said a Cabinet official who declined to be identified.

The official did not offer any details, however, on the frequency or timing of future windows for buying the masks through convenience stores. Even with the introduction of this new alternative, consumers will still have the option of ordering masks online and collecting them at convenience stores, the official said.

Since the mask rationing program started, the quota for each person has been increased from two to three per week and then to nine every two weeks, and the types of sales platforms have been extended from pharmacies to a government website and a mobile app.