South Korea Eases Coronavirus Restrictions for K-Pop Concerts

FiLE - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, South Korean boy band BTS perform on ABC's "Good Morning America at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage in Central Park, in New York. The agency for K-pop superstars BTS says the singers will take an extended break from showbiz to rest and relax and …
Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File

South Korea’s government on Monday raised the maximum capacity of “K-Pop” and other musical concerts from fewer than 100 to 4,000 as part of a nationwide effort to ease Chinese coronavirus restrictions.

Korean pop (K-Pop) concerts and other cultural shows have been forced to limit their audiences to fewer than 100 people since South Korea announced capacity limits for large concerts late last year. The restrictions saw some K-Pop bands stage drive-in concerts in which attendees were required to wear masks and submit to temperature checks despite remaining inside their personal motor vehicles for the duration of the musical show.

South Korean health officials announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions on cultural shows on June 11, adding that the relaxed guidelines would take effect on June 14.

“Sports stadiums will be able to operate at a 30 percent to 50 percent capacity, depending on the districts, up from 10 percent previously,” Reuters reported on Monday.

South Korea’s federal government rolled back restrictions on entertainment venues one day after the country reported a two-month low in terms of its Chinese coronavirus caseload on June 13. Though South Korea has vaccinated fewer people against the Chinese coronavirus than other developed nations, South Korean health officials say the country remains on track to reach its target of vaccinating about 70 percent of its population by September.

“South Korea has given a first dose [of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine] to over 11.8 million people or 23 percent of the country’s population,” the director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), Jeong Eun-kyeong, told reporters at a press briefing on June 11.

Jeong expressed confidence in South Korea’s ability to maintain a declining infection rate for coronavirus moving forward.

“We anticipate that the number of confirmed cases will drop further starting around mid-July if we maintain the current disease control guidelines and reach our goal of inoculating 13 million people during the first half of the year and vaccinating over 25 percent of the total population,” he said.

South Korean health officials revealed on June 13 that they will extend the easing of virus restrictions to travelers starting next month.

“From July 1, some of those travellers can apply for exemptions from having to observe South Korea’s mandatory two-week quarantine if they are visiting family or travelling for the purpose of business, academics or public interest,” Reuters reported on Monday.

“South Korean tour agencies were also preparing new travel packages after the government’s announcement last week that it is accelerating talks aimed at securing ‘travel bubbles’ with a few countries, including Singapore and Thailand,” the Korea Association of Travel Agents told Reuters.

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