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(LEAD) Seoul orders closure of stores, theaters, internet cafes after 9 p.m.

Politics 14:58 December 04, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details of new measures; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul city government said Friday that stores, theaters and multiple other facilities must close after 9 p.m. for two weeks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jeong-hyup announced the new restriction during a virtual press briefing, saying the order will go into force Saturday.

"Seoul is currently facing a desperately dangerous crisis," he said. "We have no room left to retreat. Starting tomorrow, we are halting Seoul after 9 p.m."

The order came after the city reported a record high 295 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the same day the country posted a nine-month high of 629 new infections in a day.

Businesses subject to the new restriction include stores, movie theaters, internet cafes, game arcades, study halls, amusement parks, beauty salons and barber shops, large grocery stores and department stores.

Exceptions will be made for small grocery stores that are less than 300 square meters in size, and for restaurants offering takeout and delivery.

Buses and subways will run on a 30 percent reduced schedule after 9 p.m. The restriction will apply to buses starting Saturday and to subways starting Tuesday.

The capital city has been under Level 2 social distancing rules since Nov. 24, the middle level of a five-tier system.

Separately, all middle and high schools in the city will be required to conduct all classes online for two weeks starting Monday, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said.

This photo, taken Nov. 27, 2020, shows a notice at Seoul's Sindorim Station announcing reduced subway services due to COVID-19. (Yonhap)


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