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(LEAD) Seoul city lifts ban on rallies of 10 or more people, allows fewer than 100

15:09 October 12, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4, 7-11; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul city government on Monday eased tough restrictions on outdoor rallies as the country adjusted its social distancing to the lowest level.

The new guidelines allow rallies of fewer than 100 people, lifting an earlier ban on rallies of 10 or more, which had been in place since late August, the local government said.

The measures came as the central government lowered social distancing guidelines from Level 2 to the lowest tier of Level 1 at midnight amid a decrease in new coronavirus cases.

This photo shows people visiting a Han River park in Yeouido, Seoul, on Oct. 11, 2020, as the government relaxed social distancing guidelines to the lowest tier of Level 1. (Yonhap)

Rallies in downtown areas, including Gwanghwamun Square, will still be banned in line with a separate measure introduced in February, according to the government.

Rallies of fewer than 100 people will also be required to follow antivirus rules, such as temperature checks, writing logs, mask-wearing and keeping 2 meters apart.

An administrative order on mandatory mask-wearing will be extended despite the lowered national guidelines. The order was introduced on Aug. 24 as part of efforts to follow Level 2 guidelines.

Also in line with a nationwide policy, the city government said it plans to charge people who do not wear masks a fine of 100,000 won (US$87) starting Nov. 13 after a one-month grace period.

The city government said it is lifting the Sept. 8 restrictions on entering designated areas of the Han River parks. Parts of the Yeouido, Ttukseom and Banpo parks had been blocked off to prevent crowding and the potential spread of the virus.

The government called for continued observance of antivirus guidelines at the parks, including mask-wearing, physical distancing and refraining from eating, drinking and food deliveries.

Public cultural facilities that partially reopened during the Chuseok holiday period earlier this month will continue limited operations.

Indoor sports facilities also plan to reopen in phases.

The file photo from Aug. 14, 2020, shows a signboard at Seoul's Gwanghwamun Square regarding a ban on rallies in the city center. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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