SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean retailers began to sell thinner anti-saliva face masks at their offline outlets on Wednesday as demand for the masks designed to fight the new coronavirus is growing amid hot weather.
Anti-droplet masks hit the shelves at major department stores, discount outlets and convenience stores in a full-fledged manner as mask producers have sharply increased the supply of such masks.
"Saliva droplet prevention" masks have been sold online or at some discount and convenience stores since their production began in early June. But the products have instantly sold out due to high demand.
South Korea's hypermarket chain operator Homeplus Co. and Lotte Mart, the country's discount store chain, said they will sell the thinner masks for around 500 won (US$0.42) with a sales cap for each individual.
E-Mart, the operator of the country's biggest discount store chains by sales, started selling the masks last week as the first offline outlet to do so.
Convenience stores will allow consumers to buy an unlimited number of anti-saliva masks.
As many as 1 million masks per week could hit the shelves at convenience stores, according to industry officials.
Department stores also joined the drive to sell the anti-virus masks.
Industry leader Lotte Department Store and its rival Shinsegae Department Store will release the anti-saliva masks at a price a tad higher than the 500-600 won masks sold at discount or convenience stores.
South Korea's drug safety agency decided on June 16 to extend a state-led mask rationing scheme to mid-July to help citizens easily buy protective masks to fight the new coronavirus outbreak.
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