After more than two years, life in South Korea is finally returning to normal. Since the pandemic began in 2020, South Korea has gone all out to prevent the spread of the virus. Even before the first case was reported in Korea, people began wearing masks. Then we underwent a series of strict curfews and periods when few people left their homes. However, as of today – May 2, 2022, the only thing that remains is masking indoors. And so, after an exhausting 2 years, we can finally breathe freely!
Returning to Normal
As of May 2, 2022, the following covid restrictions have been lifted:
- Outdoor mask mandates have been lifted.
- Unvaccinated people can now use multiuse facilities.
- Curfews have ended.
- Nightclub and bar restrictions have ended.
- Vaccinated tourists do not have to quarantine.
- The end of mandatory quarantine for positive individuals.
Returning to Normal: Details
It is no longer illegal to go outdoors without a mask. However, in the case of outdoor concerts and festivals with more than 50 attendees, masks will still be required. Additionally, the KCDC recommends that high-risk individuals, those with symptoms, and those who are positive continue to wear a mask outdoors.
It is still illegal to not wear a mask indoors or while on public transportation.
On a side note, it may be best to look at what those around you are doing. Although you are legally allowed to take off your mask, it may not be socially acceptable to do so in certain circumstances. You may still be met with public criticism or even confrontation. My advice is to listen to elders and follow their lead.
With the acceptance of medical admission and entry into the country, you cannot be asked to show your vaccination status. If someone asks to see verification of vaccination it is illegal.
However, it is still unclear if you will be required to be vaccinated to attend concerts.
Curfew is totally over! Welcome back to Korea’s 24/7 conveniences!!
Those entering Korea do not have to quarantine as long as they have been fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated or unable to prove vaccination, you will have to remain in quarantine for 7 days.
Even if you test positive you do not need to quarantine. PCR tests only be available for those entering the hospital or traveling overseas. Rapid tests will still be available at pharmacies and convenience stores.
However, the KCDC recommends that those who test positive recover at home and wear a mask at all times outside of their own home. They should treat the illness similar to the flu. Most pharmacies have care packages assembled to help treat the virus symptoms.
Context of Returning to Normal
The end of most covid restrictions comes as South Korea’s covid infection numbers have been continuing on a downward trend. Infections peaked at the end of February and through March with the spread of Omnicron.
Following the high rate of infection, coupled with South Korea’s high vaccination rate the pandemic seems to be running out of steam. Currently, 87% of people in South Korea have been fully vaccinated and 64% of residents have received booster shots.
The next important step is, for those who get infected, will be no mandatory quarantine any more. Each infected patient has to maintain the standard rules and restrictions as if they have the simple flu.
According to these novelties, a lot of brands and companies are coming back to offices.
Please remember that lifting social distancing rules does not mean the risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is gone or the pandemic itself is finishedSon Young-rae, Ministry of Health and Welfare
No matter what the restrictions are, be sure to take care of both your mental and physical health. Hopefully, someday soon, we can move towards a world with no borders where we can travel freely without worrying about our safety.
If you would like to know the details of Korea’s lifting of travel restrictions, Click Here.