SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- The coronavirus pandemic has forced two duty-free shops at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul to shutter for the time being due to tumbling customer numbers, industry sources said Thursday.
Shilla Duty Free, one of South Korea's leading duty-free stores, said it has decided to suspend operations at the airport in western Seoul for one week from Saturday.
The company said it will decide whether to reopen its Gimpo outlet on March 29, depending on how the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak unfolds.
Shilla Duty Free, owned by Hotel Shilla, had originally shortened operating hours at the Gimpo store but decided on the temporary suspension amid the worsening situation.
A week ago, another major industry player, Lotte Duty-Free, affiliated with retail-focused conglomerate Lotte Group, decided to temporarily close its store at Gimpo International Airport.
The closure of the Gimpo duty-free shops comes amid a plunge in the number of customers in the wake of foreign travel restrictions to cope with the rapid spread of COVID-19.
The number of international flights to and from Gimpo has plummeted to one or two per day as Japan and other countries put entry bans in place. Gimpo International Airport provides mainly short-haul international flights to and from South Korea.
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