Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us a tough time. Restrictions are everywhere, and they can sometimes be overwhelming. The measures are even stricter given the rise of COVID-19 cases in South Korea currently. Although people mostly cannot visit South Korea to travel from abroad, there are some things that you should expect when you visit South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. I will list some of them below, which you shall take into account whenever you visit South Korea during the pandemic time.
1. You should be quarantined for 14 days.
The government has decided to implement mandatory quarantine to all travellers entering Korea from abroad, regardless of nationality and duration of stay in Korea in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The mandatory quarantine lasts for 14 days, and you must undergo PCR tests before and after the quarantine. All in-bound travellers must also download the Self-Quarantine Safety and Protection App on their smartphone. Travellers who do not have their own place of residence in Korea must do the quarantine at a government-run facility, and they should expect to pay KRW 100,000 per day.
2. Wear a mask everywhere you go.
During the pandemic, everyone is required to wear a mask wherever they go, including in outdoor places. People who do not wear a mask might be fined up to KRW 100,000 (which is a big amount)! I saw that everyone has been really compliant to this regulation; if you are not wearing a mask, people will look at you strangely and even warn you to wear one. In addition, the government highly suggests everyone to wear a KF-94 mask since it is regarded as one of the most effective masks to prevent the transmission of the virus.
3. Expect curfews.
During the pandemic, every public place such as restaurants, cafes, bars, etc are closed 10 PM at the latest (different between each city). Meanwhile, all nightclubs are currently prohibited to operate due to the crowds that they might gather if they are opened. Some restaurants might open until midnight, but they only accept takeaway orders. Hence, keep in mind that new regulation!
4. Don’t go in large groups.
Depending on the city, some cities impose social distancing rules that prohibit either more than two or four people to gather as a group after 6 PM. In the metropolitan areas (Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Incheon), no more than 2 people are allowed to gather after 6 PM due to the high number of cases in those cities. Hence, make sure to comply with the prevailing regulation in each city in order to avoid any sanctions!