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Press Release

Revised Social Distancing to Apply Level 2 to Greater Seoul and Level 1 to Other Regions

  • Date : 2021-07-08
  • Hit : 1467

Revised Social Distancing to Apply Level 2 to Greater Seoul and Level 1 to Other Regions

- Private gatherings of up to six people allowed through a transitional two-week period (July 1– 4)
- Refraining from large-scale gatherings and official workplace dining events required to contain infections in July, when gatherings are expected to surge

□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters (CDSCH) held a meeting today (June 29) at the Video Conference Room of the Government Complex Seoul. During the meeting presided over by the CDSCH head Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom and attended by representatives of government ministries and 17 municipal governments, the participants reviewed the revised social distancing plan and the latest updates on COVID-19 responses by local governments.

□ Prime Minister Kim pointed out that the recent cluster outbreak incidents were the result of infection control violations by some individuals at a religious establishment in Daejeon and the negligence of the competent local authorities.

○ To prevent further cluster outbreaks, he ordered related ministries and local governments to crack down on these violations such as by pursuing indemnity claims.

○ He also asked the authorities in charge of infection control and each local government to use this incident as a lesson to become even more vigilant about on-site infection control situations and strictly respond to any violations, if necessary.


1. Revised Social Distancing Plan by Municipality


□ CDSCH reviewed the “revised social distancing guidelines for each local government” from the Central Disaster Management Headquarters (headed by Minister Kwon Deok-cheol) currently being operated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

<1> Highlights of the Revised Social Distancing Plan

□ The revised social distancing plan aims to establish a sustainable social distancing system based on the principles of autonomy and responsibility.

○ The new plan is designed to minimize regulations on the economic activities of the self-employed, while also empowering local governments with more autonomy and responsibility in consideration of the infection control situation in their local communities and toughening the enforcement of measures such as compliance with the prevention and control rules for individual activities.
□ The current five-tier social distancing scheme has been simplified to four levels, and the criteria for each level has been raised.

○ The new scheme consists of Contained (Level 1), Local Transmission/Capping Gathering Size (Level 2), Regional Transmission/Ban on Gatherings (Level 3), and Full-Blown Nationwide Transmission/Ban on Going Out (Level 4).

○ The criteria for each level have been raised by taking into account the nation’s progress on vaccinations and enhanced infection control and medical response capabilities. Social distancing levels (Level 1–3) can be adjusted by region and local government (city/province, si/gun/gu).

< Raised Criteria for Social Distancing Levels >

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Less than 1 case per 100,000 people

1 case or more per 100,000 people

2 cases or more per 100,000 people

4 cases or more per 100,000 people

Nationwide: Less than 500

* Greater Seoul: Less than 250

Nationwide: 500 or more

* Greater Seoul: 250 or more

Nationwide: 1,000 or more

* Greater Seoul: 500 or more

Nationwide: 2,000 or more

* Greater Seoul: 1,000 or more

* Comparing the highest levels, the threshold of the revised plan (2,000 nationwide cases in Level 4) is about twice that of the current scheme (800 cases in Level 3).

□ Regulations on publicly used facilities (self-employed and small merchant businesses) have been minimized, while regulations on private activities (gatherings) have been strengthened.

○ The business hours of these facilities will be restricted in tandem with social distancing levels and measures, and the ban on gatherings will be applied only to dance clubs (including nightclubs), dance pubs, and street cart bars where socializing is encouraged (hunting pocha) under Level 4 (more than 2,000 cases nationwide).

○ In order to prevent close physical contact between individuals, capping gathering size by level has been reinforced, and compliance with the basic infection prevention guidelines has been made mandatory, such as constant mask-wearing in all indoor spaces and record-keeping using QR code-based entry logs. Meanwhile, site inspections and penalties for violations have been toughened.

< Highlights of New Social Distancing Guidelines >

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Private Gatherings

Not specified

Up to 8 persons

Up to 4 persons

Up to 2 persons after 18:00

Publicly Used Facilities

Not specified

Reducing usage rate

Entertainment facilities, etc., singing rooms, and restaurants and cafes limited to 24:00

Entertainment facilities, etc., singing rooms, restaurants and cafes, and public bath businesses restricted to 22:00

Expanding 22:00 restriction

Gatherings banned at dance clubs, nightclubs, dance pubs, street cart bars

Events

Events of 500 people or more need to report in advance

Events of 100 people or more prohibited

Events of 50 people or more prohibited

Events banned

Assemblies

Assemblies of 500 people or more prohibited

Prohibited except one-person protest

Regions Subject to Revised Plan

Non-Greater Seoul

Greater Seoul

Not applicable

<2> Phased Implementation Measures by Region

□ Taking into consideration the nation’s stable control of infection trends, smooth vaccination progress, and expansion of pilot-run areas, the new social distancing scheme will be implemented from July 1.

○ Local governments will set a two-week transitional period (July 1-14) according to the situation in their local communities and decide and implement infection control measures with discretion.

□ For Greater Seoul, where the scale of the current epidemic is large, Level 2 is applied, and the level will be shifted after a two-week transitional period (July 1–14), where private gatherings of up to six people are allowed.

○ Accordingly, private gatherings of up to six people will be allowed in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do.

< Levels Applied to Greater Seoul and Implementation Measures >

Region

Level

Phased Implementation Measures

Restriction on Private Gatherings

Other Reinforced Control Measures

Seoul

2

Up to 6 people

Assemblies of 50 people or more prohibited

Incheon

2

Gyeonggi

2


□ Level 1 will be applied to Non-Greater Seoul regions in phases after the two-week transitional period (July 1-14), except for Chungcheongnam-do.

* Daejeon and Sejong currently exceed the thresholds for Level 1, but considering that the recent uptick in cases was temporarily caused by a cluster outbreak and their medical response capacity, Level 1 will be applied to the regions (as of June 27, Attachment 1).

○ (Special & Metropolitan City) Busan Metropolitan City, Gwangju Metropolitan City, Daejeon Metropolitan City, Ulsan Metropolitan City, and Sejong Special Self-Governing City will allow private gatherings of up to eight people, and Daegu Metropolitan City will release its plan on June 29 after consulting with its local council.

< Levels Applied to Special/Metropolitan Cities and Implementation Measures >

City

Level

Phased Implementation Measures

Restrictions on Private Gatherings

Other Reinforced Control Measures

Busan

1

Up to 8 people

Preemptive testing of entertainment facility staff (once every other week)

Daegu

1

TBD (to be released on or around June 29)

Preemptive testing of entertainment facility and singing room staff (once every other week)

Ban on gatherings for municipalities where dance clubs or nightclubs report 5 infection cases or more

Gwangju

1

Up to 8 people

Preemptive testing of entertainment facility and singing room staff (once every other week)

3-week business suspension for facilities violating quarantine rules with infection cases reported

Daejeon

1

Up to 8 people

Events and gatherings of 100 people or more prohibited

Level 2 rules applied to the allowed capacity by facility

Small gatherings, dining, or lodging at religious establishments prohibited

Ulsan

1

Up to 8 people

Preemptive testing of staff of entertainment facilities (once a week for service providers) and singing rooms and public bath businesses (once every other week)

Sejong

1

Up to 8 people

-

○ (Province) Gangwon-do, Chungcheongbuk-do, Jeollabuk-do, Jeollanam-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and Gyeongsangnam-do will allow private gatherings of up to eight people; Jeju Special Self-Governing Province will allow up to six people; and Chungcheongnam-do will lift restrictions on the size of private gatherings.

- In addition, there are currently no restrictions on private gatherings in the pilot-run areas* of Gangwon-do, Jeollabuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and Gyeongsangnam-do.

* Gyeongbuk (17): Yeongju-si, Mungyeong-si, Andong-si, Sangju-si, Gimcheon-si, Gunwi-gun, Uiseong-gun, Cheongsong-gun, Yeongyang-gun, Yeongdeok-gun, Cheongdo-gun, Goryeong-gun, Seongju-gun, Yecheon-gun, Bonghwa-gun, Uljin-gun, Ulleung-gunGyeongnam (9): Uiryeong-gun, Haman-gun, Goseong-gun, Namhae-gun, Hadong-gun, Sancheong-gun, Hamyang-gun, Geochang-gun, Hapcheon-gunGangwon (15): Donghae-si, Taebaek-si, Sokcho-si, Samcheok-si, Hongcheon-gun, Hoengseong-gun, Yeongwol-gun, Pyeongchang-gun, Jeongseon-gun, Cheorwon-gun, Hwacheon-gun, Yanggu-gun, Inje-gun, Goseong-gun, Yangyang-gunJeonbuk (11): Jeongeup-si, Namwon-si, Gimje-si, Wanju-gun (excluding innovation cities), Jinan-gun, Muju-gun, Jangsu-gun, Imsil-gun, Sunchang-gun, Gochang-gun, Buan-gun

< Levels Applied to Provinces and Implementation Measures >

Province

Level

Phased Implementation Measures

Restrictions on Private Gatherings

Other Reinforced Control Measures

Gangwon

1

Up to 8 people

(No restrictions in pilot-run areas)

Gathering, dining, lodging at religious establishments prohibited

Chungbuk

1

Up to 8 people

Events/Assemblies: 300 people or more prohibited

Sports Events: Indoor 30%, Outdoor 50%

PCR testing when hiring new workers in agriculture, livestock farming, and construction sites

Chungnam

1

Not specified

-

Jeonbuk

1

Up to 8 people

(Not specified in pilot-run areas)

-

Jeonnam

1

Up to 8 people

Events of 200 people or more need to be reported in advance; Assembly of 200 people or more prohibited

Gathering, dining, lodging at religious establishments prohibited

Gyeongbuk

1

Up to 8 people*

* Pohang, Gyeongju, Yeongcheon, Gyeongsan

(Not specified in pilot-run areas)

Gathering, dining, lodging at religious establishments prohibited; Assemblies of 100 people or more prohibited; Preemptive testing of entertainment bar staff, etc., (once a week) depending on si or gun

Gyeongnam

1

Up to 8 people

(Not specified in pilot-run areas)

-

Jeju

1

Up to 6 people

Up to 8 people for immediate family gatherings (vaccinated people not counted)

Gathering, dining, lodging at religious establishments prohibited; Preemptive testing of entertainment facility staff (once every other week)

Mandatory mask-wearing (including vaccinated people)


□ The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters (CDSCH) called for the public to refrain from large-scale gatherings and social dining of any kind (especially with drinking) in July in order to curb the surge in gatherings triggered by the implementation of the revised social distancing guidelines.

○ At the same time, CDSCH has asked the public to thoroughly abide by the basic infection control guidelines, which are supposed to be followed regardless of social distancing level, and the government plans to conduct intensive inspections on high-risk venues and factors.

< Basic Infection Prevention and Control Rules >

① Post and inform infection prevention and control rules. ② Check symptoms of visitors and limit their entry if having symptoms.
③ Keep records of all visitors via QR code-based entry logs or manually.
④ Ensure staff and users properly wear a mask at all times.
⑤ Do not consume food. (Not applicable to some facilities) ⑥ Wash hands with soap or disinfect them.
⑦ Reduce density. (Calculate, post, and adjust a limited allowable capacity by level.)
⑧ Ventilate at least three times a day. ⑨ Disinfect at least once a day. ⑩ Designate a quarantine manager.


<3> Adjusted Infection Prevention and Control Rules

□ After the revised social distancing plan (June 20) was released, some adjustments have been made by reflecting the infection control situations and suggestions from the field.

○ Regarding the suggestion from religious communities to exempt preachers who are fully vaccinated from wearing masks, the current mandatory mask-wearing will be maintained across the board, while the exemption idea will be discussed again in mid-July considering the infection control situation and vaccination progress.

○ People who are fully inoculated will not be counted in the number of people in private gatherings and events, but such exceptions will not apply to assemblies given their characteristics*.

* The decision has been made taking into account the facts that assemblies: 1. are subject to more stringent rules than events (assemblies with more than 500 people prohibited under Level 1 standards); 2. frequently feature high-risk behaviors such as shouting and singing; and 3. make it difficult to distinguish between people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not, and related conflicts can occur in the course of any site inspection.

○ Through consultations with relevant ministries, associations, and organizations, the infection prevention and control rules for party rooms and indoor sports venues, which were considered impractical, have been adjusted to realistic standards.

- Considering the characteristics of indoor sporting and group exercise venues, the cap on the number of people allowed in attendance by each social distancing level will be loosened.*

* (Level 1) 1 person per 6㎡ → 1 person per 4㎡, (Level 2 - 4) 1 person per 8㎡ → 1 person per 6㎡

- Party rooms should comply with the cap on the size of private gatherings by social distancing level, and their rental and operation for the purpose of holding parties will be permitted under the condition that new entrants are not allowed after 22:00.

< As-Is vs. To-Be Infection Prevention and Control Rules >

Classification

As-Is

To-Be

Level 1

Level 2

Level 1

Level 2

Indoor Sports Facilities

(sports/group exercise venues)

1 person per 6

1 person per 8

1 person per 4

1 person per 6

Party Rooms

Not specified

Party rental/operation prohibited (Level 2 - 4)

Not specified

Complying with restrictions on private gathering size and new entrants not allowed after 22:00 (Level 2-4)

Vaccinated People

Not counted in the number of attendees at all gatherings and events

Not counted in the number of attendees at all gatherings and events

However, restrictions on the number of attendees maintained for assemblies and protests

<4> Details of Infection Prevention and Control Rules by Social Distancing Level

□ Publicly used facilities such as cinemas, internet and gaming cafes, video game arcades, private educational institutes, study rooms, amusement parks, barbershops and beauty salons, and big-box retailers in the areas under Level 2 standards have no specific restrictions on operating hours.

○ However, in the case of restaurants and cafes, in-store food and beverage consumption* will be possible only until 24:00, and only packing and delivery will be allowed after 24:00.

* Two or more customers ordering only coffee/beverage/simple dessert are strongly urged to limit their in-store time to one hour or less.

○ In addition, entertainment facilities, holdem pub and game centers (bars where poker games are available), colatek (dance halls popular with seniors) and other dance clubs, and singing rooms can be operated until 24:00.

○ Gatherings and events of 100 people or more* will be prohibited in the areas under Level 2 social distancing rules.

* Gatherings of 50 people or more will be prohibited in Greater Seoul according to the phased implementation plan (July 7-14).

□ Publicly used facilities such as restaurants and cafes*, indoor sports facilities, singing rooms, party rooms, and indoor standing performance halls in the regions under Level 1 rules do not have specific restrictions on business hours under the condition that they comply with infection prevention and control standards.

* Two or more customers ordering only coffee/beverage/simple dessert are strongly urged to limit their in-store time to one hour or less.

○ Entertainment facilities, holdem pub and game centers (bars where poker games are available), and colatek (dance halls popular with seniors) and other dance clubs have no restrictions on business hours under the condition that they comply with quarantine rules.

○ When holding a gathering or event of 500 people or more, the basic infection prevention and control rules such as wearing masks must be complied with, and specific prevention and control plans must be developed for the gathering or event and reported to and consulted with the competent local authority.

< Highlights of Social Distancing Rules (July 1-14)>

Classification

Level 2

Level 1

Private gatherings prohibited

* Exceptions: 1. People in cohabitation arrangements, caregiving (children, senior citizens, disabled people), deathbed gatherings; 2. Those who have completed their vaccinations; 3. Cases where a minimum number of players is required for sporting events

Up to 6 people

(Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi)

Up to 8 people
(Busan, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan, Sejong)

Not specified (Chungnam)

TBD (Daegu)

Entertainment facilities, holdem pub/game centers, colatek, dance halls, singing rooms, restaurants, cafes

Business hours restricted (24:00)

*Local authorities can lift restrictions with discretion.

Business hours not specified

Capping event size

Assemblies/events of 100 people or more prohibited

*50 people or more prohibited in Greater Seoul (July 1-14).

Assemblies of 500 people or more prohibited

*Events of 500 or more need to be reported to/consulted with local authorities.

Religious activities

30% of facility capacity

*Gathering, dining, lodging prohibited

50% of facility capacity

*Refraining from gathering, dining, lodging

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