SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, June 4, 2021 – As the COVID-19 pandemic lasts for more than a year, the elderly suffer from isolation and depression. To help them, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced its plan to expand face-to-face programs for seniors and loosen restrictions on senior facilities.
The “partially vaccinated” who has spent 14 days after their first dose of vaccine and the “fully vaccinated” who has spent 14 days after their second shot will be the beneficiaries of this decision.
As of June 3, 43% of Seoulites who are 65 or older are partially or fully vaccinated.
As the first step of the deregulation, Seoul’s 79 senior facilities started to gradually open in-person activity programs only for inoculated seniors from the first day of this month. The partially vaccinated are allowed to join programs such as yoga, Go (Baduk), and Janggi, while the fully vaccinated can attend singing classes and take part in musical instruments, billiard, and table tennis programs.
Eating food or drinking beverages is allowed, too. However, when not eating or drinking, everyone should wear a mask both inside and outside the facilities. Seniors who didn’t get a shot can continue participating in non-active, small-group programs which are unlikely to transmit the virus through droplets.
Currently, 78 out of 79 silver welfare facilities are open to senior citizens. Following the increasing vaccination rate, all of the centers will go into operation from July.
As for Seoul’s 3,468 senior community halls, 1,418 halls in 13 districts are welcoming visitors.
The rest of the halls will gradually open their doors depending on the situation of each district.
Like senior welfare centers, both partially and fully vaccinated can use activity programs of senior halls, and the fully vaccinated can eat or drink inside the halls.
When a vaccine certificate is required to use the senior welfare facilities, the elderly can issue a paper certificate at the medical clinic they were inoculated. Or, they can also download an evaccination certificate from the application of the KDCA and easily prove their record with a QR code.
Deputy Mayor for Welfare Policy Kim Seon-Soon said, “The prolonged pandemic stopped many seniors from visiting senior welfare facilities. Thus, a lot of them were depressed and felt isolated.
The Seoul city government will help vaccinated seniors recover their healthy daily lives by letting them visit the facilities once again.”