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National cemeteries to close during Chuseok holiday to prevent virus spread

All News 09:04 September 21, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national cemeteries will be closed during the upcoming Chuseok holiday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the veterans affairs ministry said Monday.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, visits to 11 national cemeteries across the country will be restricted, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Chuseok is one of the country's biggest traditional holidays, during which families hold rituals thanking their ancestors and visit their graves. This year, South Koreans are set to enjoy five days off, including the three-day Chuseok holiday that falls from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

While the number of people who travel to their hometowns is expected to decline amid lingering concerns over COVID-19, health authorities view the holiday as a critical event that could easily lead to a spike in infections.

"It was an inevitable decision made in consultations with the health authorities for the safety of the families of our veterans and people who visit the national cemeteries," the ministry said in a release.

To help citizens pay tribute to their ancestors, the ministry said it will provide platforms for online worship services.

Workers cut grass at Yeongcheon National Cemetery in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, on Sept. 18, 2020, ahead of the Chuseok holiday. Mowing grass around the tombs is part of Koreans' preparations for the traditional holiday, which falls on Oct. 1 this year. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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