Current social distancing level extended for 2 weeks, restrictions eased on cafes, gyms
Updated: 2021-01-16 09:40:45 KST
South Korea has extended the current social distancing level for two more weeksbut lifted restrictions on some businesses, including gyms and cafes.
For more, we have our Kim Dami on the line.
Dami, tell us more.
Right Jung-min, that means level two.five social distancing measures will remain in place in the capital region and level two for the rest of the country.
Plus, gatherings larger than four will still be banned both indoors and outdoors.
All businesses must shut down at 9 PM.
But some multi-use facilities like gyms, singing rooms, and private academies will be allowed to resume operations under strict quarantine measures.
For instance, a one-person per eight square meters rule will be applied to those sites.
They will also have to close at 9 PM.
Churches will be able to hold in-person worship at around ten percent of their seating capacity in the greater Seoul area and 20 percent for the non-metropolitan area.
The country's prime minister said the decision comes after the government debated seriously between the opinion that the country should quickly bring back everyday life by further strengthening anti-virus measures and the opinion that the government can no longer neglect the suffering of local businesses.
"The government has reasonably revised the rules for places like cafes and religious facilities where there are many voices that quarantine standards were too excessive."
The extended quarantine period will be in effect starting next Monday.
But party rooms will remain closed.
Lodging facilities, including hotels, can only take reservations for up to two-thirds of rooms.
The prime minister added that the vaccination process set to begin next month would support the quarantine measures.
In addition, for the upcoming lunar new year holiday season, local health authorities have designated February first to the 14th as a special quarantine period.
The government is also urging citizens not to travel but instead, turn to non-contact methods for greetings during the period.
And this Saturday, South Korea added 580 new cases, staying under the six hundred mark for five straight days.
With 19 new deaths, the death toll now stands at 1-thousand 2-hundred and 36.
Back to you, Jungmin.
Thank you, Dami, for the updates.