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New social distancing rules allow private gathering of up to 8; movie theaters opened until midnight Updated: 2021-10-19 07:43:08 KST

Under the new social distancing rules, Seoul and the surrounding areas are still at the highest level of social distancing Level 4, and the rest of the country at Level 3.
But starting this week, movie theaters and performance halls in the Seoul area can now stay open two hours longer until midnight.
And with the national college entrance exam approaching, study cafes can too.
Outside the capital region, the extended hours also apply to restaurants and ordinary cafes.
As for limits on private gatherings, in the capital region they can have up to 8 people, up from the current cap of 6.
This is permitted regardless of whether it's before or after 6 PM, but at least 4 people in the group have to be fully vaccinated.
Elsewhere in the country, gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed as long as 6 people are vaccinated.
And as for weddings across the country, up to 250 people can attend the events as long as the number of the unvaccinated is capped at 49.
On the first day of the new measures, people seemed to be welcoming the eased restrictions in hopes of getting the economy back to normal.

"The vaccination rate is pretty high now, and new daily cases have fallen to the 14-hundreds after being above 2-thousand for a couple of weeks. So I personally think that considering the economy, it's better to start slowly easing the measures."

Another Seoul resident that came to watch a movie said, he does think it's great that we're going back to normal, but showed concerns about people lowering their guard.

"I think it's great that things are returning to how they were before the pandemic, but I think people should follow the rules strictly."

An owner of a coffee shop says this should have been done sooner and hopes they'll let cafes stay open later too.

"I think the easing of the rules on gatherings will be effective. But I think this should have been done sooner. Also people do tend to come to our coffee shop after 10 PM, so I hope they'll change the rule on operating hours."

"It seems the new distancing rules are welcomed by both small business owners and the public, as the government prepares for a shift to 'living with the coronavirus' early next month."
Bae Eun-ji, Arirang News.
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