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Gov't to ban tourist buses from fall foliage hot spots to stem COVID-19

All News 15:52 October 12, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- The government will restrain group visits to autumn foliage hot spots nationwide by temporarily banning large buses from national parks during the upcoming peak foliage season, its coronavirus task force said Monday, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said the ban on large buses will be enforced at the parking lots of 21 national parks across the country from Oct. 17 to Nov. 15 in time for the peak in fall foliage tourism.

Those national parks will implement the bus ban for 16 days each, depending on their different peaks of autumn colors.

A social distancing banner is hung on a trail of Odaesan (Mount Odae) National Park in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 11, 2020. (Yonhap)

Between mid-October and mid-November, South Korean mountains usually draw throngs of visitors wanting to enjoy beautiful displays of autumn leaf colors.

The government's anti-COVID-19 headquarters also said it has asked the national park authorities of Mount Seorak in Gangwon Province and Mount Naejang in North Jeolla Province, the nation's two most famous fall foliage destinations, to halve the number of their cable car passengers to help avoid the risk of coronavirus transmissions.

In addition, barrier tape will be installed at 58 national park locations, including summit areas, observatories and shelters, it said.

Marks recommending the wearing of masks will be attached to multipurpose location signs set up along the mountain trails, it added.

The government task force also recommended the utilization of "contactless tourism" through the National Park TV channel on YouTube, which will broadcast videos of the fall foliage of Mount Seorak, Mount Odae and Mount Naejang from Oct. 20-30.


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