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Bus stops closed, flowers plowed up to prevent crowds in blossom-viewing season

Seoul City said on Friday it will close seven bus stops around Yunjung-ro, a street lined with cherry blossoms that attract visitors in Yeouido, this weekend in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The bus-stop closures, which lead to temporary detours on 17 bus routes, are a follow-up to the city’s decision to close the area from April 1-10 to keep springtime picnickers from flocking.

Bus stops at Yeouido Full Gospel Church (bus stop numbers 19136, 19137), Yeouido Park (19138), Yeouinaru Station (19139, 19140) and Yeouido Middle School (19141, 19142) will be closed over the weekend.

If visitors continue to crowd the area despite the cancellation of the cherry blossoms festival, the city said it will have metro trains pass through Yeouinaru Station on Subway Line 5 without stopping on Saturday.

The stationmaster will decide whether to allow trains to pass without stopping, and will reduce inconvenience by making announcements in advance.

The city also said additional staff will be on stand-by around the station and nearby stations for disinfection around the clock and to help people maintain social distancing.

In a similar move to prevent crowds, Samcheok, a city in Gangwon Province, plans to plow up a 5.5-hectare field of rape plants before this weekend. The field, location of an annual flower festival, has drawn spectators although this year’s event was canceled, worrying local residents about a possible spread of the virus, city officials said.

For the same reason, the blossoms lining the famous Noksan Road in the southern island of Jeju will be removed in the coming days.

By Kim So-hyun (