Details of Phased Return to Normal Announced

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    October 26, 2021 10:07

    Restrictions on private gatherings and business hours will be eased on Nov. 1, so up to 10 people can gather and small businesses in the capital region can open as long as they want, the government announced Monday.

    The return to normal will come in three phases. In the first phase that will start on Nov. 1, restrictions on private gatherings and business operating hours will be eased.

    Currently the maximum number of people allowed to gather is eight in the capital area and 10 in the provinces, rising to 10 nationwide. The curfew on restaurants, cafes and other public facilities will be lifted so that they can be open 24 hours, while nighttime entertainment establishments can open until midnight.

    Vaccine passes or COVID-negative certificates will also be issued starting next month and will entitle bearers to enter some 130,000 facilities that are classified as high-risk including bars, karaoke parlors, gyms and saunas.

    People dine at a table for fully vaccinated customers in a restaurant in Busan on Monday.

    Larger-scale events will also be permitted. Starting next month, up to 99 people can meet for an event if unvaccinated people are included and up to 499 if all of them are fully vaccinated or submit negative tests.

    The first phase will run for four weeks, and if the situation is still stable two weeks later, restrictions on gatherings and operating hours will be eased further in the second phase.

    If all goes smoothly, the third phase will start in late January and most activities will be permitted under some basic safety rules. But if there is any sign of another coronavirus surge and daily cases rise to more than 5,000, an emergency plan will kick in including restricting private gatherings.

    The final details will be announced on Friday.

    Meanwhile, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 1,266 as of Tuesday morning.

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