SEOUL — South Korea planned to launch the so-called “living with COVID-19” guideline from next month as the full vaccination rate topped the key precondition of 70 percent, the health ministry said Friday.
Starting from Nov. 1, the business hour restrictions on all multiuse facilities, including restaurants and cafes, will be lifted except for nightlife entertainment facilities such as nightclubs, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Under the first phase of the three-stage “living with COVID-19” scheme, nightlife facilities will be allowed to operate until midnight.
Currently, restaurants and cafes are allowed to open until 10:00 p.m. local time in the Seoul metropolitan area, while the business hour was limited to midnight in other parts of the country.
Under the new guideline, the maximum number of private gatherings will be raised to 10 people in the metropolitan area regardless of the vaccination from the current eight.
In the non-metropolitan regions, the number will be increased to 12 people from the current 10.
For those who have yet to be fully vaccinated, up to four people will be allowed to gather at restaurants and cafes where people have to take off masks for eating and drinking.
The so-called “vaccine pass” system will be introduced with a grace period to require people to show a vaccination certificate or a negative test result when visiting risky facilities, including nightlife facilities, karaoke, public bathhouse, indoor sports facilities, racecourse, bicycle race track and casino as well as medical institutions.
The eased antivirus measures came as the country”s full vaccination rate surpassed 70 percent of the population.
In the latest tally, the country reported 2,124 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 360,536. The daily caseload hovered above 1,000 for 115 days since July 7.
The first phase of the new guideline will be maintained for six weeks. Under the second phase, the operating hour restriction on nightlife entertainment facilities will be lifted.
Under the third phase, the limit on the number of private gatherings will be removed.
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