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No. of beach visitors halves over June-July amid virus pandemic

All News 11:00 July 29, 2020

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Koreans heading to beaches more than halved over the past two months amid the new coronavirus pandemic, data showed Wednesday, but the figure is poised to rebound in August as more people spend their vacations at home instead of abroad.

Some 250 beaches here saw the accumulated number of visitors over the period reach 8.1 million as of Monday, plunging from 18.55 million posted a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

Local beaches normally start their summer operation in June.

The country's 21 popular beaches especially saw their number of daily visitors plunge to 12,000 from 28,000 posted in 2019.

A beach located in Gangneung, 237 kilometers east of Seoul, is packed with vacationers in this file photo taken on July 18, 2020. (Yonhap)

"We expect the number of visitors at beaches to rebound in August in sync with the summer vacation season," the ministry said in a statement, requesting travelers to follow basic distancing guidelines and wear masks.

South Korea has adopted an alert system for major beaches under which authorities issue a "red" alert when the number of visitors at beaches exceeds the level at which they can keep safe distances.

Under ties with South Korea's leading portal operator Naver Corp., visitors can check the traffic at the beaches through its website.

People are also banned from eating or drinking at beaches during night hours. Violators can be slapped with fines of up to 3 million won (US$2,497) under the country's disease control law, according to the ministry.

South Korea added 48 new infections on Wednesday, raising the total caseload to 14,251.


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