Drive-throughs offer supplies, books at a distance

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Drive-throughs offer supplies, books at a distance

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From left: McDonald’s McDrive in Suwon, Gyeonggi on March 11. A drive-through coronavirus testing center at Jamsil Stadium in southern Seoul on Thursday. [YONHAP , NEWS1]

As the drive-through coronavirus testing centers received worldwide acclaim for their efficiency, department stores and libraries have followed suit, implementing drive-through shopping for customers to pick up their products in the parking lot.

Goyang in Gyeonggi and Sejong first introduced drive-through testing centers for people who suspect they may be infected with the coronavirus. The trend has since expanded to about 70 such facilities nationwide.

Piggybacking on an idea long pioneered by fast food chains and, more recently by coffeehouses, Lotte Department Store’s Gwangju branch said Tuesday that it has launched a drive-through service. The new strategy came as a response to customers discouraged from shopping at the retail giant’s stores as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Lotte Department Store’s Ulsan branch first introduced its drive-through service March 8. The conglomerate’s other department stores across the country have done likewise.

The process is simple enough. Using the Lotte Department Store mobile app, customers choose the products and select the branch to pick them up at. After selecting a pick-up time, the customers visit the branch’s valet parking lounge to receive the goods.

Products offered through the service will mainly be daily necessities and processed goods that can be purchased in bulk.

Last Friday, Lotte Department Store’s Gwangju branch also started a food delivery service, which includes baked goods, fruits and convenience foods.

Drive-through services are especially popular among families with children and people who are reluctant to visit public places.

Public libraries are also piling on the idea. Public libraries on Jeju Island, including Halla Library and Woodang Library, have implemented drive-through services starting March 11. Each person can pick up books every Wednesday and Saturday after making a request online.

Book rental requests are available through the Jeju Public Library homepage (lib.jeju.go.kr). Failure to show up results in the reservation being automatically canceled.

BY CHOI KYEONG-HO, CHOI CHOONG-IL [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]

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