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Small business owners welcome suspension of vaccine pass mandate

All News 15:16 February 28, 2022

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- Many small business owners welcomed the government's decision to temporarily suspend the COVID-19 vaccine pass system for multiuse facilities from March, though some citizens expressed concern over its negative impact on the quarantine efforts.

The lifting of the vaccine pass mandate will affect 11 kinds of multiuse facilities, including restaurants and cafes, from Tuesday amid the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. Since last November, South Koreans over 18 have been required to present a vaccine pass or a negative PCR test conducted within the previous 48 hours to enter various multiuse facilities.

This undated file photo shows the vaccine certificate verification at a restaurant. (Yonhap)

This undated file photo shows the vaccine certificate verification at a restaurant. (Yonhap)

"I'm very pleased to hear that the vaccine pass system will be gone. It has been cumbersome and inconvenient to check each customer's vaccine pass one by one," said an owner of a buffet restaurant in Myeongil-dong, southeastern Seoul.

A 51-year-old man who runs a meat restaurant in the southwestern Seoul ward of Guro said that he expects he will be more comfortable from now, because elderly customers unfamiliar with smartphones, in particular, often expressed irritation at vaccine certificate verification.

A woman in her 30s who has been running a cafe in Migeun-dong, central Seoul, for seven years said the vaccine pass system has been a real hassle and there was a lot of financial loss from that.

"It has been virtually impossible to check each customer's vaccine certificate. So I removed all the seats in my cafe and lost many customers to a bigger cafe across the street," she said.

But some people shared the view that the lifting of the vaccine pass system may not be enough to help rehabilitate the self-employed who are now standing on the brink.

"The vaccine pass issue is a policy that we can bear and follow. We want freedom in our business hours," said Oh Ho-seok, head of an association of COVID-19-battered small businesses.

Some citizens also expressed anxiety at the planned suspension of the vaccine pass system.

"It will be very difficult for small business owners but I think it is safer to continue to implement the vaccine pass system. I hope the vaccine pass requirements will remain in effect until the spread of omicron is reduced," said a 48-year-old teacher surnamed Shin.


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