First of all, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will work together with the police to inspect around 1,600 “Noraebang,” or singing rooms, throughout the city to crack down on illegal business operations, selling alcoholic beverages and violations of quarantine measures such as no registration of the visitors and eating food inside the room. If any violation is detected, the city plans to impose strong penalties.
Special inspections will be carried out on entertainment facilities located in seven areas – Apgujeong-dong, Seocho-dong, Itaewon, areas near Hongik University and Konkuk University, Yeongdeungpo, and Jonggak. The city will apply the “One-Strike-Out” policy to businesses that violate quarantine rules. If they violate the rules, the customers, as well as business owners, will face a charge.
The city will also inspect open-air facilities where the number of visitors is increasing as Spring comes round. Especially it will conduct intensive inspection on the Cheonggyecheon Stream area. There has recently become a concern because many visitors did not follow the social distancing guidelines of banning private gatherings of five or more people and no drinking and eating around the stream. Any citizen who violates the guidelines may face fines.
Department stores, large discount stores, and shopping malls are also the primary targets for the city’s special inspection since they are expected to attract many visitors in May, the Month of Family.
Second, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will speed up preparations for the pilot introduction of the COVID-19 self-testing kits as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety conditionally approved them on April 23. The city plans to introduce the self-testing kits to be used at high-risk facilities, including call centers and Seoul Comprehensive Logistics Centers.
Third, the city will bring more strict social distancing rules to the public sector. Under such a scheme, gatherings excluding necessary business meetings will be banned among civil servants or employees at the city government, autonomous district offices, and the city-funded organizations. And they are encouraged to have meetings in a non-face-to-face manner or postpone them if they can. At least a third of all workers will be encouraged to work from home and flexible working hours will be expanded in the public sector.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, “As the weather gets warmer, more and more citizens are visiting multi-use facilities. Accordingly, cluster infections are also increasing.” He added, “In line with the Special Quarantine Week of the central government, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will also work together with the police to push for a joint crackdown on violated business operations. We also plan to introduce a pilot project of self-testing kits for high-risk facilities, such as call centers, in cooperation with related public agencies.” “The measure will cause inconveniences to citizens to some degree, but I cordially ask business owners as well we citizens for the understanding and cooperation as it is a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.