Business hours, shopping and tourism events to normalize from Nov in S. Korea

Jung Hee-young, Han Jae-beom and Cho Jeehyun 입력 2021. 10. 25. 16:15 수정 2021. 10. 25. 16:24
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[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]
Business hours will be normalized across South Korea starting Nov. 1 as the country is finally ready to return to normalcy after a near lockdown since summer through the momentum of achieving 70 percent in full vaccination rate.

The country¡¯s disaster management headquarters on Monday released a plan for gradual return to normal life. The three-stage plan, with each carried out over a period of six weeks, will begin on Nov. 1 with complete lifting in virus-related restrictions on Jan. 24, 2022 unless infection cases resurge again.

From next Monday, the phase 1 will begin by allowing private social gatherings of up to 10 individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Large social events, like wedding, will be allowed for up to 99 people without any conditions. For gatherings of over 100, people will still be subject to vaccination status check. All businesses, except for bars and such that are considered as high risk places for virus spread, will be allowed to operate for 24 hours.

The second phase will begin on Dec. 13 to allow further relaxation in social gathering restrictions. The final stage, scheduled to take place from Jan. 24, will remove all restrictions.

Each phase will involve four weeks of execution period and two weeks of evaluation process, which will assess the overall status from vaccination rate to number of severe infection cases.

Various shopping and tourism events will be normalized starting next month.

The new private spending support plan, which is to be released by the economy minister on Tuesday, will reportedly include the government¡¯s voucher program for spending in leisure activities, such as going to movies and attending sports events. Cash back program is also expected to be launched for dining out, which has been offered for home delivery only, as well as discounts on hotels and train tickets or other leisure related activities purchased through agencies.

[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
The easing in rigid Covid policy arrives as 70 percent of Korea's 5.2 million population has been vaccinated with two shots as of Saturday afternoon.

The country began its vaccine rollout program on Feb 26, the slowest among advanced countries. However, it achieved the herd immunity threshold target of 70 percent in just 240 days. U.K, which began vaccination on Dec. 8 last year for the first time in the world, has recorded 66.7 percent in vaccination rate, as of Oct. 22. Japan recorded 68.9 percent, Germany 65.5 percent, and the U.S. 56.6 percent, as of Oct. 21.

[¨Ï Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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