Pressing pause on the "gradual return to normal" scheme, authorities in South Korea have launched even tougher measures this week like expanding "vaccine passes."
Initially, vaccine passes were only required at specific venues like indoor sports facilities, nightclubs or singing rooms.
But now, even more businesses like restaurants, cafes and theaters must check visitors' vaccination status.
Though the government has launched a one-week grace period so businesses can get up to speed some have already shared their discomfort.
"It's close to impossible to ask each customer whether they have been fully vaccinated. Some have been offended when I asked them."
"We now need to hire people to check users' vaccination status, which costs us extra expenses."
Authorities have also decided to extend vaccine passes to teens aged 12 to 18 from February.
To that, many students and their parents have shown their opposition.
A high school student uploaded an online petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website in late November, calling the government's decision discriminatory against the unvaccinated.
The petition said many were reluctant to get vaccinated because of reports of breakthrough cases and side effects.
It has been signed by more than 290 thousand people as of Tuesday morning.
Other governments around the world are also bringing in vaccine mandates and restrictions on the unvaccinated.
The city of New York became the first city in the U.S. to extend its vaccine mandates from public sector workers to private sector employees.
The measure will kick off on December 27th and affect around 1-hundred-84 thousand businesses.
Italy has also tightened restrictions on the unvaccinated.
On Monday, authorities said they would implement a strengthened version of its "green pass", also known as a "super green pass" for sports events, concerts, theaters, and restaurants.
Unlike a basic green pass that can be obtained by submitting a negative test result a super green pass will only be given to those who have been vaccinated or have fully recovered from COVID-19.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.