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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: IKEA Indonesia temporarily shuts flagship store

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 11, 2020   /   05:06 pm
COVID-19: IKEA Indonesia temporarily shuts flagship store The logo of IKEA is pictured at Europe's biggest Ikea store in Kungens Kurva, south-west of Stockholm, on March 30, 2016. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has built a global business empire with revolutionary flat-pack furniture. (Agence France -Presse/Jonathan Nackstrand)

Sweden-based furniture retailer IKEA has temporarily shut its store in Tangerang, Banten, over concern that the outlet could be a place of COVID-19 transmission while public authorities are enforcing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the region.

IKEA Indonesia spokeswoman Ririn Basuki confirmed to The Jakarta Post that the company had agreed to close down its first brick-and-mortar store in the country following a request from local authorities to comply with the region’s PSBB.

“IKEA prioritizes the health and safety of our visitors and workers by complying with government regulations, including the PSBB,” Ririn told the Post.

The furniture giant would ensure the best possible outcome following the closure of its flagship store in Alam Sutera, she added.

IKEA Indonesia, which is a subsidiary of publicly-listed retail company PT Hero Supermarket, had previously been allowed to maintain its operations, as it was considered a business providing essential products.

However, concerns were raised over what appeared to be a large number of visitors in video footage depicting a packed parking lot at the Alam Sutera store, which went viral on social media on Sunday.

Another video shows visitors lining up for temperature checks at the entrance of the store on Saturday.

“The number of visitors is relatively low compared to what we’ve recorded under normal circumstances. The queue took place at the store’s entrance where visitors lined up for temperature checks yesterday,” Ririn said. The number of its online customers had increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.

Ririn went on to say that IKEA had implemented various measures to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection among visitors and employees, such as providing access to hand sanitizer and ensuring a safe physical distance.

The Banten provincial administration imposed PSBB on Tangerang regency and municipality from April 18 to May 3.

As of Sunday, Tangerang confirmed 209 COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths linked to the disease. Overall, 14,265 people have been recorded as infected in Indonesia, with 991 dead.

The second IKEA store in Sentul City, Bogor, West Java, remains open, according to Ririn.

“It is still open for the time being. We’re still considering our steps,” she said.